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An Inuerttori] of 



Bu Uance Armentrout 
J #1 

State Capital Correspondent 


The CourieivJournal and The Louisuille Times 


-Being a re-print of nine articles and 
certain editorials expounding them, 
published in the Courier-Journal from 
July 1, 1922, to July 11. 1922; also 
four editorial discussions of these 
articles in The Louisville Times. 

33t>. 7t> ? 

This is a connected series of arti- 
cles on the fiscal affairs of the 
Commonwealth of Kentucky, the 
origin and the growth of the State 
debt. It has no purpose other than 
to enlighten the people of Ken- 
tucky; to show them what a great 
and complicated organization their 
State Government is, the condition 
it is in and the system under which 
this condition has been brought 
about. It is not published to pro- 
mote the candidacy of any particu- 
lar individual for the Chief Magis- 
tracy of the Commonwealth, neither 
is it designed to thwart the honor- 
able ambition of anyone to sit at 
the, head of government; but it is 
the deliberate intent of the pub- 
lisher to acquaint the voters with 
the importance and responsibilities 
of the office of Governor of Ken- 
tucky, and the character of man 
the position demands. 

Kentucky will be looking for a 
new Governor next year, and if this 
resume of recent history aids the 
people in selecting the right kind of 
executive, its whole object will have 
been achieved. 

An Inventory of Kentucky 



The Kentucky State Treasury on 
June 30 observed the fourteenth an- 
niversary of the State's floating debt, 
with a gross total of $5,052,940.68 
In outstanding 5 per cent warrants. 

The date is the end of the fiscal year, 
the last before the next State campaign 
casts its shadow across the business 
of government. It is six months past 
the meridian of the fourth adminis- 
tration that has dealt with the deficit. 
State revenues for the next two years 
are estimated at $12,500,000 annually, 
of which all but $1,000,000 each year 
is appropriated to regular budget ex- 
penditures. There are prospects of 
large receipts from the Harkness es- 
tate and Bingham inheritance tax 
cases, pending in court. Should the 
estimates prove correct, the debt 
might be cut down appreciably by the 
end of the present administration as 
it was at the end of the last. 

The healthiest sign yet shown in 
State finances was the retirement this 
month of the last of the school war- 
rants, which have been taking their 
interest toll out of the money for 
teachers' salaries since 1918, although 
the State Treasurer has not allowed 
the school fund the interest on Its 
daily balances. 

The Full Liability. 

This relief to the school fund, how- 
ever, bears little relation to the gen- 
eral financial condition of the Com- 
monwealth; nor does the floating debt 
comprehend the whole of Kentucky's 
embarrassment and the taxpayers' 

Back in 1896 the schools were al- 
lotted so large a share of the tax rate 
that as revenues have increased that 
fund has grown out of proportion to 
the others; and so, by holding the per 
capita apportionment at the same 


level for three years the Increased 
revenues have been allowed to grad- 
ually overtake the deficit. June 30, 
1923, should find a balance to the 
credit of the school fund sufficient to 
meet the first installment In Septem- 
ber — unless the old practice of rais- 
ing the per capita just before elec- 
tion is resorted to. 

The road fund still owes the coun- 
ties approximately $3,000,000 for State 
aid advancements, which are being 
paid off at the rate of $500,000 the year; 
and inescapable liabilities of taxpay- 
ers, that must be faced, include the 
immediate necessity for the rehabili- 
tation of the State's charitable and 
penal institutions, the erection of a 
prison for women, a girls' Industrial 
school and colony for pauper Idiots, 
and the expansion of the plants of the 
University and Normal Schools. This 
all is estimated at $16,000,000, to 
equip them adequately, besides in- 
creased annual maintenance for high- 
er education and the support of the 
two new normal schools, the last of 
which can't cost much less than 
$500,000. Taxpayers may reckon as 
they please on financing the projected 
state highway system. 

Business of Government. 

No business, checking up its finan- 
cial status, could leave out of con- 
sideration expenditures necessary for 
replacements, repairs, expansion and 
adequate maintenance, and hope to 
survive. A going concern is not one 
which presents the sole possibility of 
liquidating at par. The designation 
suggests growth and the idea of ex- 
pansion. There are aspects of state 
government which bear a close re- 
semblance to big business in this re- 

As the population Increases in num- 


bers and density, life becomes more 
complex, natural resources grow 
more valuable, and new problems 
arise, which must be solved by 
the people as a State and at an 
increasing expenditure. The expen- 
diture cannot be avoided, as will be 
shown, and the neglect of the State's 
plants and of its opportunities to de- 
velop wealth to share in its support, 
and the failure to adopt and hold to a 
consistent policy, shaping all its 
executive activities to the definite end 
of the "greatest good to the greatest 
number," parallel the progress of a 
business concern toward insolvency. 

The purpose of this article is to 
lay the foundation for the history of 
the period covered by the state debt, 
the system, which has prevailed in 
the State's government, and the prob- 
lems which confront Kentuckians as 
citizens and taxpayers. 

No better place to start can be 
found than with the observation of 
Kentucky's natural possibilities, con- 
tained in the Kentucky School Sur- 
vey report of 1921. 

State's Potential Wealth. 

To quote the report: 
Physically the State is highly 
favored. Of its 40,000 square miles, 
10,000 are surpassed in fertility by 
no other land in America or in Eu- 
rope; 22,000 acres more are excel- 
lent. It is doubtful if an equally 
good showing can be made for any 
other State in the Mississippi Val- 
ley. The eastern coal district, some- 
what less valuable than that of 
Pennsylvania, is exceeded in value 
by that of no other State. The de- 
posits of iron ore are outranked only 
by those of five or six other States. 
Not the niggardliness of nature, but 
the mischance of history holds the 
State back. 

An early aristocratic social system, 
the stigmatism of manual toil, com- 
mercial activities requiring little cap- 
ital and giving little employment or 
outlook to white labor, the report 
says, caused immigration to pass Ken- 
tucky by and leave the coal and iron 
untouched beneath the surface, where 
all the iron and most of the coal re- 

Even today the conservatism of 
the State discourages well-trained, 
progressive and adventurous youth. 
The handicaps under which Ken- 
tucky suffers and has suffered are 

man-made and can be removed by 

Poor education is the inevitable 
result of the conditions described. 

Political leaders were not think- 
ing of a whole State peopled by a 
vigorous and industrious race, arm- 
ed with the power of knowledge. An 
excellent Anglo-Saxon stock thus 
largely lost, as far as public educa- 
tion is concerned, the first century 
of its history. Public education got 
but a feeble start; higher education, 
until recently well-nigh ignored by 
the State, was provided by a few 
small colleges. The general level of 
education was low, and an ill-edu- 
cated population neither desires ed- 
ucation keenly, nor does it produce 
wealth needed to support the schools 
on which the hope of better things 
depends. Thus social sluggishness 
accounts for the defects of the 
school system; and an inferior school 
system prolongs the period of social 
and industrial inertia. 

That Is the word of the highest au- 
thority in the world. 

Businesslike Survey. 

This survey was made by the Gen- 
eral Education Board, a Rockefeller 
Foundation. The greatest practical 
business genius of the century has de- 
voted his benevolence to the cause of 
education, which addresses itself to 
his practical mind as the most prac- 
tical outlay. In his benevolences 
Rockefeller demands results just as he 
does in his business ventures, and an 
organization handles his millions ex- 
pended on education with tive same 
keen foresight that the Standard Oil 
properties are managed. His money 
goes only where circumstances and 
conditions promise the best results for 
the expenditure, and the expenditure 
is always enough and never extrava- 

The Kentucky Survey was made 
under the direction of a man, who 
taught for two years in a one-room 
school, worked his way through col- 
lege, and was graduated with honors 
at Columbia. He served as assistant 
superintendent of schools in Cleve- 
land and in the same capacity in the 
school system of Greater New York, 
where his duties were to make up and 
handle the school budget. He has 
surveyed educational systems In all 
sections of the United States. 

These quotations were taken from 
the introductory chapter of the Sur- 


vey report. Not only do they reveal 
the scholarly mind seeking out his- 
torical causes as well as superficial 
facts before proposing a remedy, but 
by their position they reveal the 
practical mind regarding education in 
its relation to material prosperity. In 
that very practical matter of taxa- 
tion it attaches to the responsibility 
of a highly organized state to encour- 
age new sources of wealth so as to 
distribute the public load. 

Supported By Fact. 

Measured by actualities, undoubt- 
edly Kentucky has suffered from 
emigration of fine minds and 
trained talent. Kentucky is one of 
the most highly favored states In the 
extent and diversity of its mineral re- 
sources, and one of the most back- 
ward in development. The Director 
of the Geological Survey, after the 
best experts in gas, shale, glass sands, 
building stones and marble, fluorspar, 
and clays had made reconnaissance 
surveys, declared that there ought not 
be a pauper county m Kentucky; that 
those dependent on the State for sup- 
port of their schools and courts con- 
tain the greatest potential wealth. 

The State is only 40 per cent map- 
ped, geologically, and a large por- 
tion of that early work, done on too 
large a scale, must be done over. The 
State is much less than 40 per cent 
developed. Another half century must 
pass at the present rate of progress 
before the mapping is completed. It 
contrasts in development with Ohio 
and West Virginia, neither so natur- 
ally endowed, but both completely 
mapped, and with Virginia and Ten- 
nessee, now nearing completion. 

Mapping must precede systematic, 
economical development. Oil produc- 
tion in Kentucky, excepting where a 
concern has the means to employ Its 
own geologist at approximately $100 
a day and expenses, is pure "wi'ld- 
catting," because the State Survey 
cannot keep ahead of prospectors. 
Many persons have been in Kentucky 
in the last twelve months to inquire 
of the Geological Survey about rock 
asphalt, which underlies a dozen un- 
mapped counties. A reconnaissance 
disclosed twenty-two different kinds 
(if rare and beautiful marbles being 


quarried as limestone for railroad bal- 
last and road surfaces. A private en- 
terprise with a core drill found vast 
deposits of iron ore in four unmapped 
pauper counties. 

In Nature's Storehouse. 

One of the poorest counties in the 
State contains ledges of fire clay 
thirty-five feet thick. The finest qual- 
ity of glass sands and the biggest 
gas structure in Kentucky were found 
in proximity in another county. Pot- 
tery clay extends from one end of the 
State to another; building stone, oil 
and gas are scattered far and wide; 
and a recent survey of the whole coun- 
try, conducted by the Government 
and steel industry, reported that the 
fluorspar reserve of the United States, 
a necessity of the steel industry and 
basis of the most potent poison gas, 
is in Livingston and Crittenden Coun- 
ties, where the mineral had to be 
hauled over mud roads for miles dur- 
ing the crucial year of the World 

This may serve to illustrate the re- 
lation of educational neglect to mate- 
rial prosperity and consequent heap- 
ing of increased taxation on property 
already burdened with it. 

The study of mental disorders and 
criminology, methods of treatment, 
prevention and restoration, have prog- 
ressed rapidly and extensively since 
Kentucky finished its building pro- 
gramme a half century ago. These 
things bear their intimate relationship 
to the expense of government, pro- 
tection of life and property and pro- 
duction of wealth. Only within the 
last two years has a board of de- 
voted and unsalaried citizens been al- 
lowed, with Inadequate funds and 
equipment and unsatisfactory plants, 
archaic, ill-arranged, run-down and ex- 
pensive to operate, to apply modern 
methods and skill to the problem, not 
only of restraining Kentucky's crim- 
inal and insane, but of reducing crime 
and insanity to a minimum. Over 
2,000 fecund pauper idiots are loose 
on society. 

Education and Politics. 

A low level of education has its 
effect on politics. The Educational 
Survey report begins Its first para- 

graph with a quotation from James 

A popular government without 
popular information, or the means 
of acquiring it, is but the prologue 
to a farce or a tragedy, or probably 
both. A people who mean to be 
their own government must arm 
themselves with the power that 
knowledge gives. 

It implies that the ignorant man 
is prey to the demagogue and his own 
prejudices. The well-educated man 
casts no more votes than the ignor- 
ant; the intelligent no more than the 
dull. Everyone of the proper age, not 
convicted of a crime or legally de- 
clared an idiot or insane, has equal 
voice in elections with every other 

A low level of education, industrial 
backwardness and political demagogy 
may react upon one another. If so, 
some relationship may be estab- 
lished between neglect of popular 
education, burdensome taxes and ex- 
isting political systems. The latter 
has received much public attention 
the last few years. There is authority 
in Kentucky for the charge of po- 
litical evils. 

Gov. A. O. Stanley, in the campaign 
of 1915, quoting Elihu Root, discussed 
the "Invisible Government" at length; 
Governor Morrow, coming after him, 
called it "The System." 

Stanley's Bowling Green Speech. 

In his opening speech at Bowling 
Green, September 3, 1915, Governor 
Stanley said: 

"On the 31st day of August, 1915, 
the Democracy of Kentucky in con- 
vention assembled, re-dedicated it- 
self to the service of the people and 
the faith of the fathers by adopt- 
ing, without a dissenting voice, a 
platform specifically pledging Its 
nominees to the highest service of 
the Commonwealth. Not the least 
important of its covenants was an 
unequivocal pledge to stubbornly op- 
pose that most insidious foe to every 
righteous reform — "Invisible govern- 
ment." On the same day the Con- 
vention of the State of New York 
heard from the lips of its president, 
Elihu Root, a most startling decla- 
ration, the most surprising when 
you consider the previous political 
alignments of the speaker and the 
character of his auditors. 

" 'What is,' " said Mr. Root, 'the 
government of this State, the gov- 
ernment of the constitution? Oh, 
no — not half the time or halfway. 

The government of the State has 
presented two different lines of ac- 
tivity, one of the constitutional and 
statutory officers of the State, and 
the other — they call themselves par- 
ty bosses — the system they call In- 
visible government. 

" 'The ruler of the State during 
the greater part of the forty years 
of my acquaintance with the State 
government has not been any man 
authorized by the Constitution or 
by the law. 

" 'The invisible government pro- 
ceeds to build up and maintain its 
power by a reversal of the funda- 
mental principle of good govern- 
ment. The one, the true one, looks 
upon appointment to office with a 
view to the service that can be 
given to the public. The other, the 
fake one, looks upon appointment to 
office with a view to what he can 
get out of it.' " 

"Were all its selfish and sinister 
purposes, all its secret operations, 
all its multitudinous misdeeds ex- 
posed in their naked hideousness to 
the view of honest men, they would 
recoil in disgust and horror from 
this modern and monstrous perver- 
sion of popular government. 

"Every public servant, all political 
organizations have displayed a mor- 
bid ingenuity in their efforts to se- 
cure the approval of an unsuspect- 
ing public by glittering generalities 
and meaningless platitudes, while 
filling their slush funds from its in- 
exhaustible coffers. An alert and 
discerning public demands not high- 
sounding professions of party loy- 
alty, but it demands explicit prom- 
ises, the adoption of concrete re- 
forms and the remedy of known 

"There is an endless conflict be- 
tween the advocates of honest gov- 
ernment and these emissaries of 
plunder and privilege, who come to 
party leaders like Nicodemus by 
night, insisting upon silence and a 
covert understanding. 

"The Democracy of Kentucky, 
pure and undeflled, haa in conven- 
tion declared war upon this mon- 
strous thing — 'invisible govern- 
ment.' Elihu Root, on the same day 
in the very citadel of privilege and 
plunder admitted: 

" 'Both parties are alike; all par- 
ties are alike. The system extends 
through all.' 

"In Kentucky I have, without re- 
gard to its effect upon my own po- 
litical future or upon any political 
party, without regard to friend or 
foe, Democrat or Republican, de- 
clared and now maintain war to the 
knife and the knife to the hilt 
against the emissaries of 'invisible 

"I have never sought the suffrage 
of the people of Kentucky without 
formally reasserting my fixed and 


unalterable opposition to those In- 
fluences which have too often made 
constitutional government a mock- 
ery and a sham, and constitutional 
officers, not the servants of the peo- 
ple, but the tools and pawns of spe- 
cial interest. In a letter addressed 
to the public Dec. 29, 1912, I de- 

" 'On January 17, last, In an- 
nouncing my candidacy for Gover- 
nor, I declared I unwillingly sur- 
rendered a seat in Congress to fight 
above all else that most insiduous 
and abominable menace to the lib- 
erties and property rights of a free 
people — 'invisible government' — 
powers nominally vested in benevo- 
lent and respectable figures, actual- 
ly exercised by the covert and cun- 
ning emissaries and every favor- 
seeking and tax-dodging interest for- 
tunate enough to have a friend at 
court. If elected Governor of Ken- 
tucky, I solemnly and earnestly 
pledge the people of the Common- 
wealth here and now that I will 
turn the calcium light upon the lob- 
byist and upon all who seek to se- 
cure positions or honor or privilege 
by any secret or unholy alliance 
with him.' 

"The pledge made as a candidate 
I am prepared to keep as your nom- 
inee and as your Governor." 

Criticisms By Morrow. 

Governor Morrow, four years later, 
made unpleasant references to the 
1919 school book adoption, in which a 
Lexington publishing house was 
awarded the speller, submitted in gal- 
ley proof, as was the adopted physi- 
ology, the latter written by Dr. W. L. 
Heizer, who would have been Secre- 
tary of the State Board of Health, had 
not the Court of Appeals held invalid 
the 1918 Board of Health "ripper bill." 
He commented disparagingly on the 
purchase of $10,000 worth of denim by 
the Board of Control In 1918 at $1 a 
yard from A. S. J. Armstrong, brother- 
in-law of the secretary. of the Board, 
and a man without a place of busi- 
ness, money or credit, who delivered 
the goods three days before the Board 
wrote him a letter accepting his pro- 
posal. Governor Morrow charged fav- 
oritism toward the banks by allowing 
the State deposit to accumulate, wtyle 
Interest was being paid on warrants. 

He was harsh in his criticisms on 
the compromise of the Harkness in- 
heritance taxes and the attempted 
compromise of the Bingham tax cases 


by attorneys employed under the Stan- 
ley administration. 

Governor Morrow opened up on "the 
System" at Pineville, September 8, 


"In the name of the people of Ken- 
tucky," he cried, "I denounce the 
Stanley administration and those who 
have fattened upon it — 

"For wanton, reckless expenditure 
of the public funds, for the System 
which has increased the heavy bur- 
dens of taxation on the one hand 
while it has piled higher and higher 
the State interest-bearing debt upon 
the other; 

"For the creation and perpetua- 
tion of useless offices and office- 
holders — for the hundreds of need- 
less leaks and drains from the pub- 
lic treasury used to feed and fatten 
the political favorites of a discred- 
ited administration; 

"For its demonstrated business in- 
capacity and fraudulent favoritism, 
resulting in the loss and waste of 
millions of the people's money; 

"For the disgraceful political bri- 
gandage which did not spare even 
the school children of Kentucky; 

"For the infamy of partisan po- 
litical control of the State's chari- 

"For the enforcement and contin- 
uation of the long discredited sys- 
tem of convict contract labor. 

"To secure my election to the ex- 
alted position to whiohi I honorably 
aspire, I shall not pledge a single of- 
fice or make a single trade. When 
this great trust comes to me my 
hands shall be free to take it, my 
mind not alone for the best interests 
of my State, if in your wisdom you 
see fit to elect me Governor of the 

"I will enforce rigid economy in 
the collection and expenditure of the 
public funds, stop the leaks, abolish 
every useless office, and compel re- 
trenchment in every department of 

"I will take the black hand of poli- 
tics from the throat of the State's 
charitable and penal institutions. 

"I will appoint a State tax com- 
mission, without regard to politics, 
composed of men of such ability and 
fitness as will fairly, justly and 
equitably discharge their duties — 
and if they do not do so I will de- 
mand their resignation and tell the 
State why. 

"I will not for political reasons 
appoint to office any unworthy or 
unqualified man, nor will I know- 
ingly permit such an appointment 
by any public officer. 

"I will not employ attorneys at 
State expense, nor will I permit the 
settlement by compromise of State 
claims; but will compel their ad- 
judication in the courts of law. 

"I will not abuse or misuse the 
pardoning power, nor will I pardon 
any guilty man, nor will I use this 
power for political ends. 

"I will not barter or use my pa- 
tronage to entrench my party or 
myself in power, but will seek alone 
the confidence of a people merited 
by a faithfully, conscientious dis- 
charge of public trust. 

"I will not, while Governor of 
Kentucky, seek a nomination for 
any other office, nor will I become 
a candidate for any other public of- 

A Sinister Suggestion. 

These utterances of two Governors 
suggest something in the "Invisible 
Government" — the "System" — more 
persistent than periodic legislative 
lobbying, more sinister than the nat- 
ural desire of a successful candidate 
to reward those who helped elect him, 
with jobs. Stanley referred to "tax- 
dodgers" in the "Invisible Govern- 
ment;" Morrow to the "System" play- 
ing favorites. They suggest that 
those most Instrumental in elevating 
men to high office do not always need 
jobs, but do need a friend in a strate- 
gic position. One can almost visual- 
ize the "System" present in the per- 
son of favored politicians of what- 
ever party is in power at the 
letting of contracts — for supplies, for 
roads, for motor vehicle tags — at the 
assessment of corporations, at the 
appointment of officers, at the grant- 
ing of pardons. When the General 
Assembly convenes it may be rep- 
resented in the personnel of both par- 
ties, working together to the common 
end of protecting the "System." 

The State lets contracts for text- 
books, involving millions of dollars 
in five years; contracts for fuel, cloth- 
ing, groceries and supplies, involv- 
ing other millions; road contracts and 
contracts for fire insurance, printing, 
automobile tags, office equipment, con- 
vict labor. It has an attractive in- 
come to deposit; it regulates banks, 
building and loan associations, stock 
sales, insurance companies, the com- 
mon schools, the live stock industry, 
compensation for industrial injuries, 
railroads and all public service cor- 
porations. It supervises the assess- 
ment for taxation. 

Here, one can see, are offered splen 
did opportunities for "political favor- 

ites" to "increase the heavy burdens 
af taxation on the one hand" while they 
pile "higher and higher the state in- 
terest-bearing debt on the other." 

The Political Triangle. 

If there has been allowed to grow up 
in the electorate, through neglect of 
education and Institutional care, a 
dangerous element of vicious, disorder- 
ed and illiterate; and there is an organ- 
ized "System," invisible and insidious, 
constantly endeavoring to subvert gov- 
ernment to its own enrichment; Ken- 
tucky would need to complete a Politi- 
cal Triangle to its own undoing, only 
a professional politician at the head of 
ttve government, seeking to promote 
his own candidacy for another office 
by holding the leadership of the one 
and the friendship of the other. 

Let that stand for the moment as a 
conscientious Educational Survey, and 
two Governors of the Commonwealth 
have presented it. The facts about 
Kentucky are these: 

Taxes have Increased these four- 
teen years, while — 

Natural wealth still awaits capi- 

The State debt has Increased; 
State property has deteriorated; 
Modern science has been denied 
the delinquent and insane; 

Educational institutions have lan- 
guished for lack of funds; 

A road department In ten years 
has not built a highway system; 

A tax department in five years 
has not equalized assessments at the 
fair cash value of property. 

An Era of Revolution. 

Legislators must not be blamed. If 
the naive assumption may be indulged 
that the adoption of an enabling act 
is the consummation of the project it 
subserves, Kentucky has kept abreast 
of the times in a period of revolution 
in politics and applied science: a 
period that has seen the development 
of the automobile and flying machine, 
the cost system applied to business; 
has realized prohibition, woman suf- 
frage, popular election of United 
States senators, primary nominations, 
and non-partisan municipal and school 
board elections; has seen America par- 
ticipating in a war on European bat- 

Kentucky's principal prison is called 
a "reformatory," its asylums "hos- 
pitals," and its normal schools "teach- 


era' colleges" in conformity to the lat- 
est fashion in terminology; it has a 
modern tax law, a modern system of 
institutional management, a state 
school department, a state road de- 
partment, a state tax department, 
banking department, game and fish 
department, insurance department 
and ever so many others. But there is 
no intention to discredit any of these 
innovations. The financial balance 
would not be restored by abolishing 
them; and in Justice to their meritori- 
ous purposes they should not be men- 
tioned without Ui,eir proper setting, or 
the story of the state debt will be 
thrown into distorted perspective from 
the modern viewpoint. Their origin 
can be briefly outlined. 

These fourteen years span the era of 
transition from a frantic "trust 
bustin' " mania to recognition of the 
principle of economic co-operation. It 
knew Roosevelt, the "strenuous," and 
conservation. After him came Wilson, 
and "efficiency" became the Nation's 
watchword. The Progressive move- 
ment was under way, wh,en in 1912 
Kentucky caught the full effect of a 
nation-wide awakening. Chief Jus- 
tice E. C. O'Rear wrested the Repub- 
lican nomination away from his party 
organization and wrote a progressive 
platform. That election was won in 
the Democratic convention, when it 
adopted the "county unit;" but its 
platform was equally progressive; and 
for a few weeks out of fourteen years 
a personality illuminated the plane 
of Kentucky politics, as O'Rear went 
up and down the State declaring: 
"It may not make any difference 
to the people of Kentucky whether 
a set of gentlemen, calling them- 
selves Democrats, or another set 
of gentlemen, calling themselves 
Republicans, hold the offices for a 
term of four years; but it does make 
a tremendous difference to whom 
they are indebted for their offices, 
and what their obligations." 

The Times Have Changed. 

Since 1912 a dozen departments, not 
considered among the functions of 
government when the Constitution 
was written, have been added at 
Frankfort. They were created in re- 
sponse to popular — usually organized 
—demand. And throughout the coun- 
try there were evidence of an indus- 


trial people clumsily beginning to im- 
press their genius on the State; to 
assert the sovereign half of that dual 
capacity they occupy toward govern- 
ment and use it for their own benefit; 
to regard taxes, not as tribute, but as 
an investment, on which they demand 
returns in the form of roads, educa- 
tion, cheap transportation to market, 
protection of savings, security of in- 
vestments, reduction of fire losses and 
hazards, improvement of land, develop- 
ment of natural resources and conser- 
vation of manpower and wealth. 

Meanwhile increased taxes did not 
seem either to reduce Kentucky's 
debt and preserve its property, or to 
keep it abreast educational progress. 
People, more or less consciously, seem- 
ed to be looking for a man with busi- 
ness references; and the candidates, 
speaking in the last two campaigns, 
seemed to be doing their best to fur- 
nish them. 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 1, 1922.) 

The Courier- Journal begins today the 
publication of a series of articles on 
the government of Kentucky, and 
especially in relation to its fiscal af- 
fairs, to which it earnestly urges the 
attention of every citizen of the State. 
These articles have been prepared by 
Mr. Vance Armentrout, the paper's 
Frankfort correspondent, who has de- 
voted to them several months of 
zealous labor, his object being to as- 
certain the facts accurately and com- 
pletely and to present them Just as 
ascertained. His work will be found 
to be comprehensive, exhaustive and 
uncolored by bias, either personal or 
partisan. It may be relied upon as 
absolutely trustworthy. 

The Courier- Journal has no motive 
in publishing these articles except to 
get at the truth regarding govern- 
mental conditions in Kentucky and to 
lay it before the people for their in- 
formation and guidance, the hope 
being that they will thus be awak- 
ened to the nature of the evils from 
which the State is suffering and will 
be stimulated to intelligent action to 
remedy them. There is no desire on 

the part of this newspaper to hurt 
anybody who has held office in Ken- 
tucky; to hurt or help anybody who 
may expect to seek office in Kentucky; 
its one desire being to help the whole 
people of the State to a better Ken- 
tucky. The exposition which Mr. Ar- 
mentrout has made is aimed not so 
much at the faults of men as at the 
faults of the governmental system 
which has seriously handicapped the 

The publication of such an exposi- 
tion is especially timely now, as the 
quadrennial State election is but little 
more than a year away. If Ken- 
tuckians, of all political complexions, 
will follow the series of articles and 
study them in the spirit in which they 
are offered they will undoubtedly be 
better prepared to decide understand- 
ing^ those questions which should be 
raised and settled as the issues of 
next year's campaign, and which must 
be raised and settled before the State 
of Kentucky can come into its own. 

In addition to the impartial research 
which has resulted in the data on 
which the articles are based, every 
precaution has been taken to insure 
fairness, advance proofs having been 
sent to all officials concerned. If, with 
all this, mistakes have crept in, The 
Courier-Journal will be glad to publish 
corrections from any quarters, as, in- 
deed, it will be glad to publish com- 
ments from its readers generally, if 
reasonable in length and constructive 
in character. 


(The Times Editorial, July 1, 1922.) 

In The Courier-Journal today Mr. 
Armentrout, its Frankfort corres- 
pondent, began a series of articles on 
the business condition of the State of 
Kentucky. There will be eight or nine 
of these articles, it is announced, and 
they will be published every day except 
Sunday, until they are completed. The 
purpose of the articles is stated to 
be for or against no individual, but to 
acquaint the voters with the Isize 
and difficulty of the task of Governor 
and with some of the faults of the 
present system of administration. 

Mr. Armentrout has brought to his 
research and composition a good 
analytical mind, rich experience, in- 
tegrity of purpose, a style colorful and 
clear — and long, grinding toil. The 
stockholders of Kentucky, which in- 
cludes every citizen in it, should read 
these articles fully and carefully, the 
better to prepare themselves for their 
responsibility as electors. It costs 
them a great deal of money every year 
to run the State, and they should 
know what sort of material is needed 
to improve future management. The 
story Mr. Armentrout tells is the 
average American political story of 
government by friendship, lack of 
cohesion in administration, and dearth 
of business ability in State office. He 
avoids personalities and eschews sen- 
sations. These have no place in a 
business statement. Women, particu- 
larly, should read this series of ar- 


Kentucky's financial liabilities of 
♦5,052,940.68 in outstanding interest- 
bearing warrants, $3,000,000 owed 
counties for state-aid advancements 
and the necessity of expending $16,- 
000,000 on her educational and chari- 
table institutions, a grand total of 
$24,000,000, represent the accumulated 
obligations of fourteen years — four ad- 
ministrations, two Democratic and two 

The road debt started in 1914; con- 
ditions and needs of the institutions 

have developed gradually over a 
longer period; the floating debt first 
appeared June 30, 1908, a matter of 
$89,000 in warrants. The debt, nat- 
urally, is the outstanding feature of 
a condition embracing them all. In 
these fourteen years taxpayers have 
checked out $1,500,000 in interest on 
warrants, besides taking the losses 
of margin bidders on state supplies 
add to the price to cover possible dis- 

The accumulation of these war- 

rants has made steady progress from 
1908. Coincldentally, public revenues 
have multiplied. The Republican 
Campaign Hand Book of 1919 paral- 
lels them succinctly. It gives the 
total revenues collected under the ad- 
ministrations, respectively, of Gover- 
nors Augustus B. Willson, James B. 
McCreary and A. O. Stanley, and the 
amount of outstanding, interest-bear- 
ing warrants at the end of each term 
as follows: 

Revenue. Warrants. 
Gov. Willson .... $24,000,000 $560,000 
Gov. McCreary.. 26,000,000 2,884,000 
Gov. Stanley 35,000,000 3,556.000 

How Revenues Compared. 

It does not, of course, note that the 
public revenues under the Willson 
administration exceeded those under 
his predecessor, Governor J. C. W, 
Beckham, by $2,000,000, or that the 
revenues collected in two years and a 
half of the present administration 
total $30,000,000. 

This statement that the State debt 
is $5,052,940.68 will be, of course, im- 
mediately challenged with the con- 
tention that the treasury balance of 
$1,116,945.75 should be deducted from 
the amount of outstanding warrants 1 , 
leaving the net state debt $3,935,- 

To the average citizen, neverthe- 
less, titfi debt is what the State owes, 
and remains a debt until it is paid, 
regardless of what the State has to 
pay it with. The same explanation 
was made June 30, 1921, when the 
warrants amounted to $4,312,438.77, 
and there were $2,291,062.06 on de- 
posit to the credit of the State, leav- 
ing, it was claimed, a net debt of 
$3,021,376.71. The record, however, 
shows that $500,000 of this belonged 
to the inviolate school, university, 
normal school and road funds, and 
couldn't legally be diverted for the 
retirement of obligations against the 
general fund. Also, since the State's 
gross expenditures average more than 
$1,000,000 a month, obligations suffi- 
cient to offset the remainder of the 
treasury balance were rapidly coming 
in for audit. 

Used By Republican Candidates. 

This may account for the fact that 
the treasury balance wasn't used to 
retire the warrants at that time and 


stop the interest, in view of the Re- 
publican Hand Book criticisms direct- 
ed against the preceding administra- 
tion and freely quoted by the Repub- 
lican candidates in the 1919 campaign 
— criticisms worth quoting here, be- 
cause political history, at least, has a 
habit of repeating itself: 

"It will be observed from the 
above figures that during Stan- 
ley's administration interest-bear- 
ing warrants on June 30, 1917, to 
the amount of $4,710,633.03 were 
outstanding and on the same day 
there was a balance of cash on 
hand in favored banks, amounting 
to $1,200,229.06. 

"On June 30, 1918, the Interest- 
bearing warrants had been in- 
creased to $5,451,689.37, while the 
balance of cash in the banks had 
been increased to $1,939,719.28. 

"On June 30, 1919, upon the eve 
of a State campaign, and by rea- 
son of the call for $1,369,920.39. the 
amount of interest-bearing war- 
rants had been reduced to $3,556,- 
534.87, and the cash balance in the 
banks to $1,120,555.81. 

"Is It good policy for the State 
to allow these large sums of money 
to remain on deposit in the banks, 
while abnormal sums of interest- 
bearing warrants are outstanding?" 
The purpose of that, of course, was 
to represent the Stanley administra- 
tion as allowing interest to pile up 
against the State, while it left a large 
cash deposit in "favored banks," 
against the time when it could make 
the best showing by paying off a lot 
of warrants at the opening of the 
State campaign. 

Hand Book Down to Date. 

To bring the Hand Book down to 
date, it may be said that on June 30, 

1921, outstanding warrants amounted 
to $5,312,438.77, and the balance in the 
State treasury on deposit in banks 
was $2,291,062.06; and on June 30, 

1922, outstanding warrants amounted 
to $5,052,940.68 and the balance in 
the State Treasury on deposit In 
banks was $1,116,945.75. June 30, 1923, 
will bear the same relation to the 
next State campaign that June 30, 
1919, did to the last one. Whether a 
considerable reduction in both the 
amount of outstanding interest-bear- 
ing warrants and of the treasury bal- 
ance will be recorded on that day re- 
mains to be seen. 

The debt was a mere excrescence of 
$149,000 when it first appeared, June 

30, 1908. Since then taxes have in- 
creased many times the amount of the 
claims; but the debt grew until It 
equaled the amount of the taxes that 
first year. The rash spread; the school 
fund developed a deficit three years 
ago, and the road department still suf- 
fers from obligations of eight years' ac- 
cumulation; the electorate complains 
of the pains of burdensome taxation; 
public institutions and colleges are dis- 
tressed by lack of accommodations, 
equipment and money. 

In this extremity, the last General 
Assembly directed a commission, pro- 
vided for expert advice, to have a com- 
plete, scientific examination made of 
the State's internal organism and 
functions to ascertain whether the de- 
ficit and distress are not symptomatic 
of more serious complications that 
may be hidden from empirical obser- 

Political Prescriptions Useless. 

The debt itself is not so immense, 
though it would take the half of Ken- 
tucky's annual income to pay it off; 
and the total almost tallies with legis- 
lative appropriations in excess of reve- 
nues. Its story would be but the short 
and simple annals of the improvi- 
dent, were it not that the condition 
has persistently refused to yield to 
political prescriptions for removing 
the blemish. 

Four successive Governors have 
made the same diagnosis of "waste," 
"extravagance," and "useless offense," 
and prescribed the same healing lotion 
of "a business administration" and 
minor surgery to relieve taxation; and 
three of them have retired, two leav- 
ing as an issue a debt larger than he 
had to thank his predecessor for. 

Gov. Augustus E. Willson, start- 
ing with a debt of $149,000 at the 
end of his first semester in 1908, left 
at the close of his term a debt of 

Gov. James B. McCreary, repeat- 
ing his platform declaration in 1914, 
charged Willson's administration 
with "gross extravagance and will- 
ful waste." He said, "We pledge 
ourselves to retrenchment and re- 
form and a business administration 
of public affairs," and when he re- 
tired the debt was $3,179,000. 

Gov. A. O. Stanley in 1915 averred, 
"I favor rigid economy in the ad- 
ministration of public affairs and 

the abolition of all useless offices," 
and when he retired the debt was 

Gov. Edwin P. Morrow, candidate 
the same year and under no inhibi- 
tion of party loyalty to the adminis- 
tration, charged McCreary with "a 
broken covenant of retrenchment 
and reform," with "wanton, useless 
and reckless extravagance, an 
empty treasury, a bankrupt State 
and a public debt In outstanding, in- 
terest-bearing warrants of $3,000,- 
000." At the end of the first eight- 
een months of Morrow's administra- 
tion the floating debt was $5,312,000, 
just $139,000 under the war peak of 

Everything Has Increased. 

During these fourteen years the 
debt has increased $5,052,940.68— 
from nothing to that — the general 
revenue fund has increased $5,168,000 
—from $3,675,000 to $8,843,000— taxes 
have increased, expenses have In- 
creased, and offices and salaries have 

Each succeeding administration 
has had more revenue to spend than 
any of its predecessors. Since Gov- 
ernor Willson's inauguration the State 
has collected into the general fund a 
total excess of $19,000,000 above an 
annual increment equal to the fund 
the year he assumed office, four times 
the amount of the accumulated debt. 
Quite sufficient, it was, to have stopped 
the annual deficit at any time, to 
have paid off the debt and rebuilt the 
State institutions, with enough over 
to endow the University, if all that 
Kentucky needed during these four- 
teen years was to have somebody put 
a stop to waste and extravagance, and 
discharge a lot of useless employes. 
That the problem of State finances 
is not so simple as that, might occur 
as the explanation to the mind of a 
hard-headed business man; but all 
Kentucky's recent Governors have 
said it was, and the inference must 
point the way it drops. 

Augustus E. Willson did not in his 
campaign accuse the Beckham admin- 
istration of plunging the State into 
debt; because the State at that time 
had no debt. He did, however, charge 
"unnecessary offices" and "burden- 
some taxation'' and he promised to 
"reduce taxes and abolish useless of- 


The debt came to light during Will- 
son's term; but it vas at the close of 
a fiscal year, during the latter half 
of which Willson was Governor and 
the first half Beckham. So, its ori- 
gin and authorship are of some his- 
toric interest, if only as a starting 
point to tell the story of what efforts 
were made by four successive Gover- 
nors to stop waste and extravagance, 
abolish useless offices, give a business 
administration and reduce taxation; 
to say nothing of inquiring into the 
executive conception of what consti- 
tutes waste and extravagance and 
what makes taxation burdensome. 
Controversy On Origin. 

The debt when it first appeared was 
a mere matter of $149,000. A larger 
deficit in the general expenditures 
fund had occurred the year before 
under Beckham, and $500,000 had 
been transferred from the sinking 
fund to cover it, which action Govern- 
or Willson subsequently approved, 
since the sinking fund didn't need 
the money. Upon this transfer the 
Auditor, S. W. Hager, on October 
31, 1907, announced that all claims 
to date had been audited and paid. 

The Willson administration assum- 
ed full control the New Tear's fol- 
lowing. There was in the State Treas- 
ury on the date of transfer consider- 
ably more than $1,000,000 that being 
the harvest season of the annual tax 
gatherers. It also marked the exact 
middle of the fiscal year. 

The government doesn't cease func- 
tioning with one administration and 
resume with( another. It goes on re- 
gardless of changing personnel; and, 
so, no doubt, debts contracted under 
the Beckham administration must 
have fallen due under his successor. 
This is important, because before the 
winter was over the cash was about 
cleaned out of the state treasury and 
there was given to the press a care- 
fully phrased statement of alarming 
tone, that the treasury had been ex- 
hausted to save the State's credit from 
the result of indebtedness incurred by 
the preceding administration. 

The debt June 30th was so small — 
only $149,000 — compared to what the 
public had been led to expect, that the 
new administration was suspected of 


trying to impress a rather wayward 
General Assembly of the opposite po- 
litical faith, and possibly make good 
on its charges of "unnecessary offices 
and burdensome taxation," before set- 
tling down to the redemption of its 
own pledge to "reduce taxes and abol- 
ish useless offices." 

That the administration entertained 
some premature hope of wiping out 
the deficit is indicated by Governor 
Willson's elaborate calculations to 
show the legislators that revenues 
were sufficient for the ordinary ex- 
pense of government, if they would 
only refrain from adding to them. 

The Issue Made Up. 

It was an unequivocal statement 
the Beckham administration made in 
the late fall of 1907 that all obliga- 
tions had been paid. No less was the 
statement issued by the Willson ad- 
ministration in the early winter of 
1908 that the treasury had been emp- 
tied by them in paying the accumu- 
lated obligations of the Beckham ad- 
ministration. And so, since the debt 
was so small at its initial appearance 
and appeared at the end of a fiscal 
year, in which each had a share, the 
single point at issue is whether the 
Willson administration could have 
closed the books that June SO, 1908, 
without that little floating debt. On 
this point the respective business 
characters of the two administrations 
become relevant, and public docu- 
ments, containing their records, take 
the stand as character witnesses. 

The first half of the fiscal year 
was under an administration of eight 
years' experience, that had made the 
revenue laws and tax rate, established 
the departments as they then existed 
and built and paid $900,000 on a new 
Capitol without straining the public 
credit up to that time. The second 
half was under a new administration, 
entering on strange duties in the mid- 
dle of the fiscal year, and one whose 
subsequent record will disclose what 
facilities its practices afforded for the 
expeditious emptying of a treasury. 

Reveals Beckham Policy. 

Notwithstanding the controversy 
over responsibility for the deficit. 
Governor Willson was discriminating- 

ly charitable toward his predecessor 
In subsequent messages. He even 
went so far as to say, "The deficit has 
not, in so far as I know, been caused 
by any extravagance or Improper 
management of the executive depart- 
ment in the past;" a compliment, 
which, by the way, was obviously only 
a necessary incident to its implication, 
at a time when the Governor was 
having his second wrestle with a hos- 
tile legislature. He congratulated 
Kentucky on its handsome, commodi- 
ous and economically built Capitol. 
He gave Governor Beckham per- 
sonal credit for the building and the 
General Assembly blame for the cost, 
the last payment on which, along with 
its furnishings and power plant, the 
Night Rider War and the 1908 Gen- 
eral Assembly he found burdensome 
beyond bearing. 

But he was too generous toward 
Governor Beckham. The records tell 
another story. For that period from 
1900 to 1908 the man who sat at the 
head of the administration must ac- 
cept full responsibility. Kxecutive 
initiative is stamped on the whole 
body of the laws and executive policy 
too plainly on the conduct of every 
department. There does not seem to 
have been an executive agency that 
was not molded by one hand in that 
time and changed radically in form. 
There must have been one directing 
mind behind It; because there Is a 
traceable sequence in the operation 
and a harmony of detail, which show 
that somebody had carefully scrut- 
inized every nook and cranny of the 
Btate's establishment, deliberately 
planned a comprehensive policy and 
personally supervised its execution. 

What was achieved was to place 
all the state institutions under cen- 
tralized control; Increase the school 
fund so as to lengthen the term and 
pay teachers better salaries; establish 
two normal schools so as to fit teach- 
ers to earn better salaries; to estab- 
lish a Confederate Home and build a 
new State Capitol. In order to do 
these things it was necessary to re- 
codify the revenue laws in their en- 
tirety and reapportion the state tax 

Finances Come First. 

The financial part of the pro- 
gramme was attended to first. In 

1897 the tax rate had been Increased 
from 47% to 57% cents on the $100 
for three years, reverting to 47 V4 
cents the year the Beckham admin- 
istration assumed office and resulting 
In an immediate deficit. The rate 
was raised to 50 cents and re-appor- 
tioned, 26% cents to schools, 22 cents 
to the general fund, 2 cents to the 
sinking fund and % cent to the Uni- 
versity. This re-apportionment fol- 
lowed the redemption of practically 
all the outstanding bonds against the 
Commonwealth with war claims col- 
lected from the Federal Government, 
which permitted a reduction of three 
cents in the sinking fund. Likewise, 
the general fund was made to sur- 
render 1% cents to the schools. 

As a consequence, for the first time 
the schools received the major part 
of the general taxes, the school term 
was lengthened from five to six 
months and the per capita apportion- 
ment for the pay of teachers increas- 
ed a dollar. It is more than doubled 
now, $6.10, the school fund being en- 
riched In every subsequent effort to 
Increase state revenue by raising the 
tax assessment. 

The two normal schools and the 
Confederate Home were established 
and provided for, and the State Capi- 
tol construction was started and al- 
most completed during the adminis- 
tration. Special appropriations were 
made for the repair and permanent 
improvement of all the state institu- 
tions, the Geological Survey was re- 
established, a permanent State Fair 
appropriation was made, forestry and 
immigration were added to the Depart- 
ment of Agriculture, the Kentucky 
Children's Home Society was taken 
under state patronage, the appropria- 
tion for the State Board of Health 
was increased, the first provisions 
made for the figfc,t against tubercu- 
losis, and the State Fire Marshal was 

Time Must Test Policies. 

At that time five local boards man- 
aged the charitable institutions, keep- 
ing their funds in local banks, and, 
presumably, patronizing local dealers 
liberally. A State Board of Control, 
to be appointed by the Governor, was 
created to take charge of the three 


asylums and Institute for Feeble 
Minded Children. 

The scope of this policy is readily 
apparent from the recital, its pru- 
dence must rest on its own fiscal 
foundation, and the fact that the cap- 
itol project went through a bitter 
campaign during construction and 
others since without a scandal is its 
chief defense against a charge of reck- 
less extravagance. The soundness of 
the policy could be tested only by 
time, and has no place in this story 
excepting as it relates to the state 

What progress had been made in 
education in the last fourteen years, 
the survey of 1921 testifies. What the 
normal schools may have done to im- 
prove instruction in the common 
schools, what the Geological Survey 
has done to develop natural resources 
and distribute the tax burden; what 
the University, Experiment Station, 
and Department of Agriculture have 
accomplished to the same end; what 
service the Fire Marshal, Insurance 
Commissioner, State Board of Health, 
Prisons, Hospitals, Houses of Reform 
and Banking Commission have per- 
formed in the prevention of loss and 
In conservation and reclamation, re- 
flect the ability of succeeding admin- 
istrations to formulate and execute 
policies, as do the answers to such 
pertinent questions as: What has been 
accomplished by a Road Department 
ten years old? and How near has the 
Tax Commission in five years come to 
ussessing all the property in Ken- 
tucky at its fair cash value, and equal- 
izing one acre with another? 


(Courier- Journal Editorial, 
July 3, 1922.) 

Mr. Armentrout in the first of his 
aeries of articles now appearing in The 
Courier -Journal sought to lay the foun- 
dation for the history covered by Ken- 
tucky's debt, with the system which 
has prevailed in the State's Govern- 
ment during that time, and the result- 
ing problems which confront Ken- 
tuckians as citizens and taxpayers. 


He showed from the testimony of the 
highest officials of both political par- 
ties that the system which has di- 
rected that history has been what 
Governor Morrow denounced as "The 
System" — something outside of the 
system prescribed by our organic law 
— and what Governor Stanley de- 
nounced as "Invisible Government." 
He showed that during this period, 
when the State Government has been 
in charge of two Democratic and two 
Republican Administrations, each 
equally condemnatory of "The Sys- 
tem" and each equally emphatic in 
pledges to destroy it, the throttling 
grip of "The System" has never been 

The consequence is that Kentucky, 
potentially rich beyond estimate in 
natural resources and peopled by a 
race ever in the forefront of the 
world's advancement, is a laggard In 
an era of development and an age of 
progress. And the story of that pe- 
riod of fourteen years, which is the 
story of Kentucky's debt, is thus aum- 
marized by Mr. Armentrout: 

"Taxes have increased these four- 
teen years, while natural wealth still 
awaits capital; the State debt has In- 
creased; State property has deterio- 
rated; modern science has been denied 
the delinquent and Insane; educational 
institutions have languished for lack 
of funds; a road department in ten 
years has not built a highway system; 
a tax department in five years has not 
equalized assessments at the fair cash 
value of property." 

Today Mr. Armentrout deals with 
the State debt, from its beginning in 
1908 to its continued growth in 1922. 
On June 30, 1908, it was "such a little 
one," as the poor lady excused her in- 
discretion of the irregular infant, that 
it did not seem to count — only a trifle 
of $149,000 in warrants. But the debt 
habit is one of the easiest formed and 
followed. At the close of Governor 
Willson's term that $149,000 had in- 
creased to $560,000. At the close of 
Governor McCreary's term it had 

waxed to $2,884,000. When Governor 
Stanley went out it had gone up to 
$3,556,000. On June 30, 1922, six 
months beyond the first half of Gov- 
ernor Morrow's term, It had availed 
to $5,052,940.68, of which $350,231.57, 
charged to the school fund, has be...\ 
ordered In. 

No light is thrown on the steady 
growth of the debt by a scrutiny of 
the State's income throughout the 
same period. It was not because there 
was no money in the treasury that the 
debt was not paid and grew from 
less than two hundred thousand to 
millions. While Willson was Governor 
the revenues collected increased to 
$24,000,000, yet a debt of $560,000 
was left unpaid. Under McCreary the 
revenues collected increasd to $26,- 
000,000 and the debt increased to near- 
ly $3,000,000. Under Stanley the reve- 
nues collected increased to $35,000,000 
and the debt to more than three and 
one-half millions. The Morrow admin- 
istration in two years and a half has 
collected $30,000,000, but instead of us- 
ing any of it to pay off the debt has 
increased it. 

No intelligent man believes that a 
State debt is always a fiscal crime. On 
the contrary, there are times when it 
is wise for a State to incur debts. It 
might be possible to justify this debt 
if it could be shown that Kentucky's 
mounting revenues had been expend- 
ed in ways more profitable to the State 
than the liquidation of its outstanding 
warrants and the issuance of more 
warrants. But that would seem to 
be a hopeless task in view of the com- 
mon knowledge that notwithstanding 
the expenditure of all these revenues 
the crying need of the State's schools, 
penal and charitable institutions, roads 
and development agencies is money 
and more money, which they do not 


Tet this debt seems to have been so 
cherished by every State administra- 
tion that a million and a half of the 

taxpayers' money has been paid out 
not toward wiping out the debt, but in 
interest charges to carry it. 

Mr. Armentrout effectively parries 
the point that his statements of the 
State debt will be challenged with the 
contention that the Treasury balance 
should be deducted from the amount 
of outstanding warrants. That, of 
course, is the merest quibble, trolled 
off by campaign politicasters to be- 
fuddle the groundlings, most of whom 
are easily befuddled by the manipu- 
lation of financial statistics. Quibble 
as the politicasters may, the whole 
proposition which they spring amounts 
simply to this: A man with a mem- 
orandum of his I. O. U. for $10 in one 
pocket doesn't owe any less than $10 
because he has $5 cash in another 

Mr. Armentrout discusses at gome 
length the record of accomplishment 
made by the Beckham Administration, 
and whether any obligations incurred 
by it were inherited by Governor Will- 
son. That, however, has little bear- 
ing on the State debt, which first ap- 
peared on the books in a small way in 
1908. The fact that does have a very 
material bearing on the subject of his 
article is that every Governor who 
has presided at Frankfort during the 
life of the debt has condemned, almost 
in the same language, profligacy and 
useless offices, promising as a remedy 
the economy of "a business adminis- 
tration;" while under all of them the 
business of increasing the debt has 
gone on, together with the business 
of spending more and more revenues, 
with no more satisfactory results 
than summarized by Mr. Armentrout. 

Kentucky's debt is not so large as to 
be in itself a matter of vital impor- 
tance; what is of very real importance 
is why Kentucky has a debt at all. 

That question has never been satis- 
factorily answered. Could "the Sys- 
tem" answer It if it would? 




No lack of accord has distinguished 
any of the successful candidates for 
Governor of Kentucky these last four- 
teen years in their shrewd surmise 
that the State was running in debt be- 
cause it was spending beyond its in- 
come. They have been in perfect har- 
mony, too, on the subject of executive 
responsibility for the entire policy of 

A. O. Stanley said in response to 
calls of "speech" at the State conven 
tion in 1916: "You do not expect from 
a chief executive, or a candidate for 
Governor, words — it is work. An ex- 
ecutive is judged, not for his bril- 
liancy or eloquence, but by his wis- 
dom, firmness, patience, devotion to 
duty and untiring labor in behalf of 
the people who honored him. I am 
thinking tonight," he said, "how by 
long years of loving service, not by 
words, I can show you how full is my 
heart of gratitude." 

In his inaugural address he de- 
clared: "There is an insistent demand 
for more business and less politics In 
the administration of fiscal affairs," 
which does not sound unlike what 
Edwin P. Morrow had said that same 
year in a campaign speech: "We need 
less politics and more business; more 
saving in the collection of revenue 
and less extravagance in its expendi- 
ture." Governor Stanley observed 
that "to liquidate a heavy deficit, if 
possible, without increasing the bur- 
den of taxation, will require the great- 
est care and discretion in the appro- 
priation of public funds." He fore- 
saw that "all superfluous offices from 
the highest to the lowest should im- 
mediately be abolished," and the es- 
sential offices "filled with an eye sin- 
gle to the fitness of the man with 
the place." 

On Legislative Shoulders. 

Governor McCreary not only gave 
assurance that "the finances of the 
State shall suffer no detriment which 
it may be possible for me to prevent," 
but his vision encompassed an "age 
of progress and development. Our 
State must keep jstep," he exclaimed, 


"and we must have united, aggres- 
sive efforts for industrial and com 
mercial supremacy. Kentucky must 
forge to the front in farming, in man- 
ufacturing, in mining and in educa- 
tion." Governor Morrow more than 
hinted at some relationship between 
the state government and "the devel- 
opment of our agricultural and natu- 
ral resources." 

It cannot be charged, on the other 
hand, however, that any of them pre- 
sumed to trespass upon the preroga 
tives of the co-ordinate legislative 
branch of government. So clearly de- 
fined did they leave the dividing line 
between the executive and legislative, 
that one unacquainted with the tradi- 
tional deference which hedges about 
formal intercourse between the two 
branches might conclude that they 
all with one accord shifted the entire 
responsibility at their first opportu- 
nity on to tfc|6 shoulders of the legis- 

Now, legislative shoulders are, not 
only broad, but numerous. The Gen- 
eral Assembly is composed of 138 
members, who convene every two 
years for a period of sixty working 
days, and between whiles have no 
official concern for public affairs. The 
membership embraces representatives 
of every rank of Intelligence, culture, 
education and occupation. 

They come from every section, and 
communities of every conceivable 
character and density of population. 
They come unacquainted with the de- 
tails of government, its needs and 
resources — unacquainted with one an- 
other and the motives of hordes of 
advocates who throng the lobbies. 

A Board of Directors. 

Each has his own particular mea- 
sures to advance, and each must ac- 
quaint himself with all the others and 
with the machinery of legislation, and 
consider the merits of nearly 1,000 
bills, mostly foreign in subject-matter 
to his experience — and all in the space 
of sixty working days. Tet, not a 
cent of revenue may be collected or a 
penny of it spent without the approval 

of a majority of these 138 legislators. 
In this respect they resemble a board 
of directors of the Commonwealth. 

Like a board of directors, too, they 
are not required to "go It blind." 
The State employs a Governor at a 
salary of $6,500 the year "and found," 
to de nothing else but manage the 
entire institution, with appointive 
power over most of its agents and In- 
quisitorial supervision over the others. 
He Is specifically directed by the Con- 
stitution, which might be likened to 
articles of incorporation, to inquire 
into the affairs of all departments, ad- 
vise the legislators and, presumably, 
formulate some sort of policy, In 
which the activities of all the twenty- 
five varied executive agencies may be 
co-ordinated under his direction. He 
is the head of the corporation. 

A gifted imagination might en- 
visage in the legislative session the 
assembled Board of Directors of a 
great organization, turning over 
$16,000,000 annually, and producing 
regularly an annoying and constantly 
growing deficit; and in the Governor 
the new head of the concern, elected 
on his assurance that he knew what 
caused the deficit and could correct 

Advice to Legislators. 

A definite, concrete fiscal policy, 
embodied in the biennial message and 
submitted for approval, might not be 
disappointing to such an imagination. 
What policy there was must be win- 
nowed from the archives of public 
documents; but, If respect for the 
prerogatives of a co-ordinate branch 
was responsible for executive reticence 
about their own plans, the amenities 
of statesmanship did not withhold 
from the law-making body such sound 
advice as this: 

Augustus E. WiUson, 1908 — "I 
wish to call the attention of aU the 
members of the General Assembly to 
the absolute necessity of limiting, 
not only the amount of appropria- 
tions, but taking great care to see 
that they should not be made pay- 
able at any time when the Treasury 
cannot pay." 

James B. McCreary, 1912 — "Sen- 
ators and Representatives should be 
careful in making appropriations, 
and be sure that there is money 
available to pay such appropriations 
as may be authorized." 

In 1914 — "The first principles of 
good public finance is that no ex- 
penditures for any purposes should 
be permitted unless such expendi- 
tures lie within the limits of public 
revenue. The people of Kentucky are 
expecting a bill to be passed to help 
raise sufficient revenue to pay the 
debt of the State of Kentucky." 

A. O. Stanley, 1916— "Those, who 
propose added appropriations, 
should, at least, be able to suggest 
some method by which added rev- 
enue, necessary to meet expendi- 
tures, may be provided." 

Edwin P. Morrow, 1920— "The 
General Assembly should rigidly in- 
vestigate the various departments 
and institutions, and should unhesi- 
tatingly recommend any and every 
measure to correct extravagance, 
prevent waste and to detect and 
punish those guilty of the misappli- 
cation of public funds." 

The legislators did not heed these 
wise admonitions. In fact, every 
Governor, until the budget was 
adopted, recommended appropria- 
tions of hundreds of thousands, with- 
out suggesting specifically where the 
money was to come from; and the 
Assemblies went on adding appropria- 
tions and neglecting to provide the 
revenue to cover them, and Gover- 
nors went on approving them. 

Appropriations Always Pacemaker. 

The result could be foreseen; only 
the extent was speculative. Although 
revenues steadily increased, appro- 
priations kept constantly ahead of 
them. The sessions of 1908 and 1910, 
counting some $300,000 made annual- 
ly, appropriated outright $1,300,000. 
The last payment on the Capitol fell 
due and the Night Rider War cost 
$250,000 for military operations. The 
two sessions of the next administration 
increased the annual burden on the 
general expenditures fund more than 
$900,000. Confederate pensions were 
the greatest, of course. Nearly all 
annual appropriations were increased, 
and new departments were added, 
besides special appropriations of thou- 
sands at every session. 

There are other avenues of expen- 
diture, too, which do not stand in the 
category of appropriations. Such, for 
instance, are doubling the per diem 
of legislators, increasing the fees of 
jailers and county clerks, and the 
Jefferson County fees, the creation 
of three new circuit court districts, 
running well In excess of $300,000 in 


annual cost to the State. The county 
tax commissioners, on the State's 
payroll, draw approximately $400,000 
the year. When these are totalled 
up and $8,000,000 of latter day revenues 
credited to the road fund, they ap- 
proximate the measure of the accu- 
mulated deficit. 

It would appear fairly obvious 
that, if nine legislatures in succes- 
sion are wholly to blame for condi- 
tions, tlie machinery of government, 
with its admirable system of 
"checks and balances," lacks 
brakes and gear, which the states- 
manship of the period was unable 
to supply. 
Governor Willson, being of the op- 
posite party, frankly did blame the 
General Assembly. So far as his 
administration was concerned, he In- 
formed the 1910 session that "during 
the last year there has been pain- 
staking and severe scrutiny of all bills 
rendered, and the most rigid economy 
has been practiced;" which is perti- 
nent because, while the legislature 
authorizes expenditures, it is well 
within the discretion of the executive 
head to spend as little or much of 
departmental appropriations as he 
sees fit, having direct control through 
appointment over most of them, and 
inquisitorial power as to the others. 

From Willson to Budget. 

If the records should bear out this 
claim of "scrutiny and rigid econo- 
my," perhaps, the wee debt of $149,- 
000 on June 30, 1908, might be as- 
cribed to the laxness of the Beck- 
ham Administration the first half of 
that fiscal year. And this introduces 
the fiscal policy from Willson to the 
Budget. It will be treated as one 

A history of these fourteen years, 
dealing solely with the business of 
government and selected from cam- 
paign speeches, Inaugural addresses, 
messages, acts and public documents, 
does not lend itself to chronological 
arrangement; it must be told topical- 
ly. In sequence of time the history 
would be but a series of cross sec- 
tions, so alike as to be confusing. 
Longitudinal sections clear through 
the period are more revealing of the 
continuity of government and such 
variations of type as have character- 
ized Kentucky's alternating political 
fancy this last decade and a half. 


To begin with, the Constitution pro- 
hibits paying money out of the treas- 
ury excepting on appropriations made 
by the General Assembly; yet reports 
of State Inspectors and Examiners re- 
peatedly disclose institutions with an 
overdraft at the end of the fiscal year, 
which means that they had received 
warrants in excess of their stipulated 
annual incomes. 

The prisons from time immemorial 
and the Houses of Reform from 1910 
on, had no fixed income, the theory 
being that they should pay their own 
way, and they drew on the treasury 
for what they lacked in earnings to 
meet their expenses. It was the con- 
stant practice of departments and 
institutions to incur debts one fiscal 
year in anticipation of their revenues 
for the next. Governor Willson report- 
ed to the General Assembly in 1910 
that the asylums had hawked $200,000 
in warrants with local banks for cur- 
rent expenses. 

How Deficits Pile Up. 

The General Assembly in 1912 took 
care of $127,000 indebtedness for the 
three asylums. It paid off a $2,500 note 
for the Institute for Feeble Minded 
and a debt of $25,000 in 1910 and of 
$30,000 in 1912. The Houses of Re- 
form, for which the General Assembly 
appropriated money in 1908 and 1910 
to overhaul the power plant and water 
supply, ran $49,000 more than its ap- 
propriation, and the General Assembly 
paid a $20,000 debt for It in 1910 and 
$30,000 in 1914, when the Assembly or- 
dered the practice to stop. 

It expressed itself the same year in 
the same terms about a debt of $200,- 
000, contracted by the University in 
excess of a building appropriation of 
1906. The two Normal Schools, like- 
wise, ran ahead of their Incomes in 
their building programmes. By 1910 
the Western owed $78,000 and the next 
year the Eastern owed $80,000. In 1912 
the Western was authorized to borrow 
$100,000 and four years later the State 
assumed it. The State had paid $45,000 
of Indebtedness for the Kentucky 
Normal and Industrial Institute 
(negro) by 1912. 

Thus was a $1,000,000 indebtedness 
contracted in six years without legls- 

lative sanction. The Board of Control 
had added another $240,000 deficit by 

They were all doing it, and it was 
not until 1914, and then by legislative 
enactment, that departments and in- 
stitutions were told that they must 
stay within their incomes and that 
they must not draw money out of the 
treasury and bank it, but present their 
bills of expenses and payrolls before 
the Auditor issued hia warrants. 

The accounting system is wholly 
within the Executive Branch of the 
Government. In the Auditor's office 
are many clerks, who do nothing but 
keep books. Governor Willson com- 
plained of the simplicity of the sys- 
tem, which, as he said, was "only a 
cash account of receipts and disburse- 
ments and a separate account of each 

The State, even at that time, was 
turning over $7,000,000 in cash annual- 
ly, housing, feeding and clothing 4,000 
people, supporting three big educa- 
tional institutions and operating twen- 
ty other departments. The Governor 
thought the Legislature ought to do 
something about improving the sys- 
tem of bookkeeping. 

"Public Office" Account. 

There was kept in the Auditor's of- 
fice a "public office" account — as 
handy as an unceiled garret in a bun- 
galow—which stored $28,000 in 1908 
and $80,000 in 1920, when the budget 
was adopted, and picked up during the 
intervening years, all told quite $680,- 
000. Examination of its contents 
brought to light such an odd assort- 
ment of miscellany as office supplies, 
unclassified salaries and even coal for 
the power plant. 

What a factor this was in state 
finances is demonstrated by the ex- 
perience of the Banking Commission, 
created in 1912, and composed of a 
commissioner, deputy, examiners, 
clerk and stenographer, whose salaries 
and traveling expenses are paid out of 
fees for examining banks. Being 
bankers, they made up a set of books. 

The department collected $20,000 the 
first year and spent all but $1,500 of 
it: but the Auditor's report shows 
only $1,100 charged up to the depart- 

ment. It was $17,400 out of balance 
with the Auditor at the end of the 
first year, expenses of the Commission 
in the State's accounting bureau hav- 
ing been distributed among "salaries," 
"public offices" and other accounts. 

The experience is unique only in 
that the Commissioner kept a full set 
of books himself. Printing, office 
supplies and many other items, run- 
ning into thousands of dollars annual- 
ly, were paid out of the general fund 
aside from departmental appropri- 
ations until the budget was adopted 
by the General Assembly of 1918. 

It was not until 1914, seven years 
after the deficit appeared and after 
two administrations were inducted, 
each pledged to fiscal reform, that the 
accounting system began to receive 
attention. The Democratic State plat- 
form of 1912 advocated a uniform ac- 
counting system. The late Robert G. 
Phillips, then Assistant State Treasur- 
er, was insisting upon the fulfillment 
of that pledge. He confided to the 
late Captain Reuben Hutchcraft, who 
fell in the Argonne in 1918, and who 
was one of the leaders of the House 
in 1914, that he could steal all the 
money in the treasury and no one 
would find it out for a month. 

How Money Is Handled. 

The Treasurer receives from the 
Auditor the money the latter collects 
and checks it out on the Auditor's 
warrant. Yet, up to that time they 
had not kept a daily balance. The Gen- 
eral Assembly promptly required this. 
It might be inserted here, parenthetic- 
ally, that now, only gradually through- 
out the fourteen years, have depart- 
ments been required promptly to cover 
into the treasury all the money they 

Through the years, thousands and, 
sometimes hundreds of thousands, be- 
longing to the State, were banked for 
months wherever they chose by de- 
partmental and institutional heads. 

Captain Hutchcraft piloted through 
a law, providing for a uniform ac- 
counting system. The Governor in 
his message had made the reasonable 
argument in behalf of this plank in 
the platform, that "the State should 
be able to tell any day, without ape- 

cial investigation, the financial con 
dition of the State of Kentucky and of 
every county in it, and the exact cost 
of operating every department of the 
State." So the Sinking Fund Commis- 
sion, composed of the Governor, Audi- 
tor, Treasurer, Secretary of State and 
Attorney General, was directed to 
have it Installed. 

Several accountants, who had in- 
stalled such a system in other states, 
were among the bidders. They esti- 
mated the cost at everywhere from 
$100,000 to $300,000 and said it would 
require a year or two to fit a system 
to the organization. The firm who got 
the contract a year after the Banking 
Department had demonstrated the 
lack of alignment between the Audi- 
tor's books and the various avenues, 
through which revenues are spent, 
agreed to install the system in fifty- 
two days without disturbing the Audi- 
tor's office. They did. 

The whole expense, printing and 
all, was only about $35,000. It was a 
beautiful job — the printing. The print- 
er was so proud of the biggest stack of 
books ever ruled and bound for Ken- 
tucky that they were photographed 
in mass formation. The books were 
uniform, indeed, like soldiers. Their 
backs were all alike; but there the 
analogy stopped for they were all out 
of step with the Auditor's office. 

The Banking Department found its 
own set superseded by one large book, 
containing, among others, a column 
for "pauper idiot claims" and one for 
"tuition." The law still stands in the 
statutes, but the books have long since 
been discarded. 

Budget System Adopted. 

It was in 1918, well along toward 
the close of the third administration, 
dedicated to fiscal reform, that the 
budget system was adopted, the edu- 
cational institutions provided for in 
tax levy, and the approval of the 
printing commission required before 
printing bills were paid. Bondsmen 
had been compelled to reimburse the 
State some $17,000 spent for unau- 
thorized printing by the Department 
of Education between 1912 and 1916, 
and slowly for ttifi last eight years, 
chiefly through the efforts of the state 


printers, departmental work, there- 
tofore let largely outside the regular 
state contract, was turned over to 
the state printers and subjected to of- 
ficial scrutiny. 

So, by July 1, 1920, after the fourth 
administration had been inducted, and 
by virtue of a legislative act under the 
third one, the mechanics of the fiscal 
policy had been sufficiently reformed 
to make practicable an actual sum- 
mary of fiscal needs and the probable 

Under the budget of 1920 all contin- 
uing appropriations were terminated. 
Those for every department for the 
ensuing two years were included in 
two acts, and repairs, replacements, 
permanent improvements, printing and 
incidential expenses must be taken 
care of by departments out of their 
annual appropriations. 

It is not yet perfect, apparently. 
The uniform accounting system still 
stands on the Statute Books, and Gov- 
ernor Morrow in 1920 suggested that 
the General Assembly do something 
about inaugurating an operating aud- 
it to ascertain whether money is be- 
ing economically expended. 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 4, 1922.) 

The third of Mr. Armentrout's series 
of articles now running in The Cour- 
ier-Journal should be studied, not 
merely read. For in it the way is 
pointed to an understanding not only 
of the development of the State debt 
but also of the conditions from which 
Kentucky has suffered during the 
period of the debt's development. 

The debt, of course, is only one of 
a disease's symptoms, not the dis- 
ease. When the malady is correctly 
diagnosed the remedy may be Intelli- 
gently applied. There is much in Mr. 
Armentrout's contribution today on 
which to base a correct diagnosis. It 
is because the remedy, if a remedy is 
to be applied, must be applied by the 
people, the source of all self-govern- 

ment, that The Courler-Jouri*ol Is 
printing this matter and pressing it 
upon the people of the State, who can 
have no better government than they 
provide for themselves. 

Let the facts set forth today have 
all the consideration which is here 
urged for them. They disclose not only 
the cause of the affliction of the 
body politic which has dwarfed a great 
Commonwealth during the last four- 
teen years, but they lay bare the fun- 
damental peril to our plan of govern- 
ment as designed by its founders — a 
plan whose distinguishing virtue of 
freedom is being perverted, by license 
of the sovereign people's laxness In 
enforcing their sovereignty, into an 
instrument for defeating its own ob- 

Proceeding with his discussion of 
the instance of the State debt, Mr. Ar- 
mentrout shows that this evil persists 
and grows not because of any lack of 
comprehension by the State's execu- 
tives of the nature of the evil, or be- 
cause of their lack of knowledge of 
what must be done to cure it, but 
because of their consistent failure to 
do It. 

Every Governor who has officiated 
during the life of the debt has depre- 
cated it, denounced tr- policies and 
practices back of it and promised to 
replace them with administrative 
methods recognized as necessary to its 
extinction. And yet every Governor, 
with the exception of Mr. Morrow, has 
gone out of office leaving the debt 
larger than he found it on entering 
office. As for Governor Morrow, his 
account Is not yet rendered; yet there 
is no indication that it will be differ- 
ent from the records of his predeces- 
sors; for with more than half of his 
term served the debt today is much 
larger than it was at the close of the 
administration of Stanley, McCreary 
or Willson. Bach has scathingly con- 
demned the maladministration of 
those who preceded him. Bach has 
pledged himself to work the revolution 
of economy against extravagance, 

waste and useless offices pronounced 
essential to wiping out the debt and 
restoring the State to fiscal health. 
And each, with the same qualified ex- 
ception as to the present Governor, 
has left the patient in a worse condi- 
tion than he found it. 

There has been a unanimity among 
these eminent executives in their fail- 
ure to make good their excellent 
words, and there has even been close- 
ly approximate agreement in the 
words themselves. Thus Mr. Stanley 
well said: "There is an insistent de- 
mand for more business and less poli- 
tico in the administration of fiscal af- 
fairs;" while Mr. Morrow said equally 
well: "We need less politics and more 
business; more saving In the collection 
of revenue and less extravagance In 
Its expenditure." It is an old story, 
a common story of public men — this 
story of applauding government as a 
business, but practicing politics as a 
business. It is a story which goes 
far to explain misgovernmeat In 
America, both State and national. 

It would be unjust to discredit the 
sincerity of such men as Willson, Mc- 
Creary, Stanley and Morrow in their 
pre-election analyses of governmental 
reforms needed, though followed by 
their post-election failures to effect 
th<«e reforms. No doubt they have 
been honest in profession; why have 
they been sterile in accomplishment? 

The answer is suggested by today's 
installment of recent political history 
in Kentucky's capital. 

The short of it is that the Governor 
does not govern. 

He goes to Frankfort committed to 
a "business administration." Nomi- 
nally he is at the head of the biggest 
business In the State. But actually 
be does not run that business. The 
business runs him. As to who does 
run the business — that opens up a 
field of inquiry in which Mr. Stanley's 
protest against "Invisible Govern- 
ment" and Mr. Morrow's protest 
against "The System" will not down. 

When he reaches Frankfort the 

Governor draws around him the sacred 
circle of the Constitution as rigorously 
as Richelieu drew around himself the 
sacred circle of the Church. That cir- 
cle, as he distorts it, separates him. as 
a dead line, from a co-ordinate but in- 
tegral part of the government of 
which he is nominally, and should 
be actually, the head. He finds the 
Legislature is itself headless, without 
homogeneity or programme; divided 
into factions; swayed by partisanship; 
individually bent on the promotion of 
special and local petty interests; large- 
ly raw in legislative experience; the 
whole body swamped in the mass of 
work dumped upon it for disposition 
in the short session of sixty days. The 
executive refusing to head a headless 
Legislature, the ever-present and vigi- 
lant lobby — including the representa- 
tives of "Invisible Government," "The 
System" — cheerfully and all too suc- 
cessfully takes upon Itself the direction 
of the "business of government" which 
the Governor has abdicated. Mean- 
while, within his sacred circle, he is 
left free to follow his own inclination 
— to play the pleasant game of official 

patronage, to repair his "fences" with 
a view to harvesting some other offi- 
cial crop, to issue pardons, coin "Colo- 
nels," make speeches wherever oppor- 
tunity offers or fancy inspires; con- 
tenting himself with inditing messages 
to the Legislature about things that 
should be done, but taking no step 
outside his circle to get them done. 

Mr. Armentrout draws a true pic- 
ture of the failure of the "business of 
government" because of a lack of a 
head to the business — the only busi- 
ness which the titular head leaves to 
log-rolling stockholders, none of the 
capital with which they are doing busi- 
ness being their own; the result being 
the most striking demonstration yet 
presented of the adage that "what's 
everybody's business is nobody's busi- 

The moral of it all? 

Mr. Armentrout's excursion into his- 
tory will prove wholly profitless unless 
it shall impress upon the electorate of 
Kentucky that if it wishes a business 
government of the State it must elect 
a Governor who will be Governor. 


Taxes, naturally, have occupied a 
large share of political attention in 
connection with Kentucky's State debt 
these last fourteen years. Tax asso- 
ciations have demanded reform. The 
old system was regarded as inequitable 
and productive of inadequate revenue. 
Governor Willson advised a change. 
So did Governors McCreary and Stan- 
ley. It was necessary to amend the 
Constitution to permit of classifica- 
tion. The amendment was adopted by 
the people during the McCreary ad- 
ministration, but the election was not 
advertised, and it had to be submitted 

Finally, in 1917, after the amend- 
ment had been adopted, and two spe- 
cial commissions had reported — one in 
1914, which proposed a drastic, scien- 


tiflcally drawn measure, under which 
the State would have made the assess- 
ment, and one appointed in 1916, which 
offered a modified plan — Governor 
Stanley called a special session to re- 
codify the revenue laws. 

In his message that year Governor 
Stanley summed up the criticism of 
the old law in a sentence: "There is 
no adequate method of forcing all 
property on the assessment roll, no 
adequate method of determining or 
fixing the proper taxable value, when 
same is listed, and no adequate means 
of equalizing or equitably distributing 
the burden of taxation," and the idea, 
in everybody's mind, he expressed, 
was "that agriculture, now excessive- 
ly burdened, might be in a measure re- 
lieved by a new and more equitable 

In hia message in 1918 he recalled 
the work of the special session and 
said: "The difference between as- 
sessed values in different counties 
upon the same class of property was 
startling. We find real estate In one 
county assessed at 30 per cent and in 
another at 80 per cent. This haphaz- 
ard method of securing the State's 
revenue has been superseded by a just 
and modern system, by which every 
class of property is equitably as- 

"An old, archaic taxing system has 
been abolished and a new and mod- 
ern method, by actual experience, Is 
more than meeting the most san- 
guine expectations of its authors 
and friends." 

That was before the new Tax Com- 
mission had completed its first year's 

Equalizing Assessments. 

Two years later Gov. Edwin P. Mor- 
row addressed the General Assembly 
on the same subject when the com- 
mission was two and a half years old. 
He recommended legislation for "the 
correction and revision of the present 
tax law so as to make assessments of 
every class of property just and 
equitable, and to limit, within reason- 
able bounds, the arbitrary power of 
the State Tax Commission to increase 
assessments made by local boards." 

At the 1922 session. Governor Mor- 
row said: "The State Tax Commis- 
sion, realizing that the burden of tax- 
ation can be equalized only by assess- 
ing property at its fair cash value, 
has been striving gradually to realize 
this requirement of the Constitution. 
In the older settled agricultural coun- 
ties," said he, "but little difficulty 
should be experienced in arriving at 
the fair cash value of real estate." 

The Commission now is five years 
old. It started in 1918 to equalize 
on the basis of a 75 per cent valua- 
tion. The United States courts In 
the 1912-13 railroad tax cases had de- 
clared that property in Kentucky was 
assessed at an average of not more 
than 60 per cent of its fair cash 
value, and directed that the railroad 
franchises be equalized at that per- 
centage. Tiiat was the only guide the 
first Commissioners had and it is evi- 
dent the Commissioners assumed that 

60 per cent was correct; for, in raising 
assessments to a 75 per cent basis that 
first year, they increased real estate 
from $713,000,000 to $870,000,000, and 
the four big railroads, the Louisville 
& Nashville, Illinois Central, Chesa- 
peake & Ohio and Cincinnati, New 
Orleans & Texas Pacific, from $106.- 
000,000 to $131,000,000. 

After horizontal raises from year 
to year, the Commission sought, in 
1921, to make the assessment through- 
out the State 100 per cent — the fair 
cash value. Real estate went up 
from $870,000,000 to $1,173,000,000. 
which was within $8,000,000 of being 
exactly its fair cash value, if the 
1918 assessment was 75 per cent of 
it. But the four big railroads, accord- 
ing to the assessment, showed up with 
a fair cash value of only $122,000,000, 
which was a loss of $52,000,000, or 30 
per cent, since 1918. 

While contiguous real estate and 
adjacent personal property, according 
to tax returns, had approximately 
the same value in 1918 and 1921, the 
rights of way, rolling stock, termi- 
nals, bridges, shops and real estate 
of the four railroads fell off $15,000,- 
000, or more than 14 per cent, In that 

Assessing Corporations. 

The value of everything else seem- 
ed to hold its own during that period 
of high prices, excepting materials 
entering into the fabrication of prop- 
erty used by railroads, express com- 
panies and telephone companies. The 
valuation of the physical plants, or 
tangible property, of franchise pay- 
ing corporations is becoming more 
and more important; for the fran- 
chise is an elusive sort of thing. It 
is ascertained by subtracting the val- 
ue of physical property from the total 
capital, which is the net earnings 
shown In the corporation's report, 
capitalized at a given percentage. 

Back in the days when W. F. Klalr 
of Lexington, Democrat, and H. 
Green Garrett, Republican, of Win- 
chester, now chairman of the State 
Highway Commission, were on the 
State Railroad Commission, Lawrence 
Finn of Franklin, then its chairman, 
used to file a dissenting report on 
the assessment of the physical prop- 
erty of the railroads. 

In those days before the State Tax 


Commission was created, the Railroad 
Commission fixed the value of the 
physical property and the State Board 
of Valuation and Assessment, com- 
posed of the Auditor, Treasurer and 
Secretary of State, fixed the total cap- 
ital and calculated the franchise as- 
sessment. When the railroads sued 
to enjoin the 1912-13 franchise taxes, 
Chairman Finn declared the low as- 
sessment of the physical property 
made it embarrassingly necessary for 
the Commonwealth in the suits to de- 
fend an extraordinarily high franchise 

The most remarkable apparent 
shrinkage in value occurred when 
the American Railway Express Com- 
pany took over the Adams, Amer- 
ican, Wells-Fargo and Southern Ex- 
press companies. The four com- 
panies in 1918 had a combined as- 
sessment of $986,000, which was 75 
per cent of $1,300,000. Three years 
later the American Railway Express 
Company bore an assessment of 
$750,000, a shrinkage of $550,000, or 
40 per cent in valuation. 
The Cumberland Telephone Com- 
pany, which no longer ago than 1917 
reported to the State Railroad Com- 
mission that it had 6,394 miles of poles, 
158,597 miles of wire and 96,328 miles 
of wire in its cables, besides buildings, 
153 exchanges and all the telephone 
sets it rents to the public, was as- 
sessed the next year on its physical 
property $3,750,000, or 75 per cent of 
a fair cash value of $5,000,000. In 
1921 it was assessed at $900,000 less 
than its fair cash value in 1918. 

Complaint of Counties. 

Since the day of litigation, ending in 
1917, no trouble has been experienced 
with corporations over their assess- 
ments. Hearings are held and the 
tentative assessments made final. But 
orders for county reassessments have 
been met with resistance and com- 
plaints that property cannot be as- 
sessed any higher. 

County delegations represent their 
property to be assessed at the fair cash 
value. Notwithstanding this conten- 
tion, corporations in Carter, Letcher, 
Boyle and Daviess have protested their 
assessments in County Court, alleging 
and offering to prove that their as- 
sessments are too high, because prop- 
erty generally is assessed from 30 per 
cent, as alleged In Carter, up to vary- 


Ing percentages. And if anybody at 
the Capitol or in any courthouse in 
Kentucky knows after five years 
whether property is assessed at an 
average of 30, 50 or 80 per cent, proof 
no far is lacking. 

Kentucky spent $441,229.25 getting 
the 1921 assessment, too. It has spent 
nearly $2,000,000 since 1917 in an effort 
to equalize property at its fair cash 

The new tax law has done auto- 
matically all its advocates expected of 
the law itself; it has brought out in- 
tangibles, and bank deposits have mul- 
tiplied on the tax list ten fold. It has 
produced additional revenues. They 
amounted to $9,200,000 in 1917; to 
$10,400,000 in 1918; to $12,200,000 in 
1919; to $11,600,000 in 1920, and $14,- 
700,000 in 1921; but this mounting 
turnover did not make any Impression 
on the volume of outstanding interest- 
bearing warrants. Still, It must not 
be assumed that despair settled down 
over the executive mind. 

Governors Are Optimists. 

Each Governor anticipated the pay- 
ment of the debt, but always under the 
next administration, and, always, it 
would seem, registering the reaction 
of opportunism to a chance treasury 
balance. Governor WUlson was not 
pessimistic in 1910 when he deprecated 
the size of the debt and concluded that, 
"the General Assembly has power and 
knowledge to supply all that Is lack- 
ing, and the problem simply requires 
good business sense and ordinary 
business honesty to provide the 
money, which has not been provided 
for the debts, expenses and future ap- 

Had the administration thought of 
it, railroad taxes might have relieved 
the embarrassment somewhat; for the 
next year after it retired the Louisville 
& Nashville, Chesapeake & Ohio, Cin- 
cinnati, New Orleans & Texas Pacific, 
and the Illinois Central, enjoining the 
1912 assessment, accepted and paid on 
a franchise valuation double what it 
was under the Willson administra- 
tion, and the United States Supreme 
Court added a little to it, so the assess- 
ment could be equalized with other 
property in Kentucky at 60 per cent 
of its fair cash value. 

These belated railroad franchise 
taxes and $200,000 paid In a lump by 
the Southern Pacific after litigation 
swelled receipts abnormally in 1914, 
and Governor McCreary, then with 
two years to serve, predicted the can- 
cellation of the debt in about three 

Again, in 1919, Governor Stanley be- 
lieved "the new tax system bids fair 
to raise sufficient revenue to meet 
current needs of the State and to af- 
ford a balance for a sinking fund 
to be applied in the liquidation of the 
State's existing indebtedness." The 
treasury then had begun to feel the ef- 
fect of the increased assessment. In- 
heritance taxes were $600,000 larger 
than at any time before or since, the 
balance of the protested franchise 
taxes had come in the year before, 
along with $400,000 additional whisky 
revenues, which went up $700,000 that 
year on the eve of prohibition. Out- 
standing warrants were reduced 

Still Looking Forward. 

The next year nearly $400,000 had to 
be paid back to the school fund; in- 
heritance taxes fell off $600,000, and 
whisky taxes $1,000,000, and a change 
in the time of reporting threw rail- 
road taxes beyond the end of the fiscal 
year. Outstanding warrants went up 
$1,300,000. The succeeding year, end- 
ing June 30, 1921, picked up $600,000 
extra in railroad taxes, of course, al- 
though warrants increased from $4,- 
164,000 to $5,312,000. 

Governor Morrow in his message In 
1922 said, "if expenditures are not in- 
creased by extravagant appropriations, 
Kentucky can and will, without any 
increase in the tax rate, pay off the 
public debt well within the next two 
years. When this is done a substan- 
tial decrease in the ad valorem tax on 
real property can be made." 

Two years will throw it Into the 
next administration which can, If, 
luckily, the Bingham and Harkness 
inheritance tax cases in the mean- 
time result in a temporary Inflation 
of the treasury balance, wrestle with 
the problem of reducing revenues by 
cutting the rate. 

Governor Morrow's own acknowl- 
edgment that "it has not been under- 

taken in this message to dwell upon 
the very important subject of the con- 
dition, needs and activities of the 
State's penal and charitable Institu- 
tions, nor to cover the demand for the 
development and extension of the 
State's institutions of higher educa- 
tion," does not simplify the problem 
for his successor. 

All of Kentucky's institutions are 
from a century to half a century old, 
ill adapted to modern methods of ad- 
ministration, expanded from time to 
time with little regard to economy of 
operation, and it is estimated that the 
saving in operating costs would pay 
a good profit on the initial expense of 
reconstruction. But a bond issue 
would not supply funds for the an- 
nual maintenance cost of the Univer- 
sity and four normal schools on a plane 
commensurate with the highest edu- 
cational standards. 

Little Can Be Cut Out. 

Ad valorem taxes — the general prop- 
erty tax to which everybody contrib- 
utes — including bank deposits, amount 
to $6,900,000. If the public schools 
were abolished, the rate could be cut 
three-fourths; or if the schools and 
road department were abolished, pro- 
vided motor license and gasoline taxes 
were allowed to stand, ad valorem 
taxes could be obviated. If the schools, 
University, normal schools, prisons 
and asylums were abandoned, this 
would enable the State to operate on 
revenues from other sources, and 
would save the $347,000 the State pays 
County Tax Commissioners and the 
$317,000 it pays the Sheriffs. 

No eliminations would make a very 
deep impression on taxes, unless 
schools were included. It would 
avail nothing to tamper with the 
Game and Fish Commission, Work- 
men's Compensation Board, Banking, 
Blue Sky and Building and Loan De- 
partment, the Insurance Department 
or any of a dozen examining Boards. 
They are supported by fees and some 
of them contribute to general reve- 

It may not be generally known how 
much of the burden of local expenses 
is borne by the Commonwealth, out- 
side the $4,300,000 it pays toward the 


support of local schools. A summary 
of its larger contributions Includes 
$230,000 in salaries of Circuit Judges 
and Commonwealth's Attorneys, $222,- 
000 for costs of criminal prosecutions, 
$207,000 to Juries, $347,000 for salaries 
of County Tax Commissioners, $317,- 
000 for commissions of Sheriffs for 
collecting taxes, and $25,000 to County 
Clerks for making out tax bills, a total 
of $1,348,000 outside the school fund, 
offset by a net sum of $120,000 from 
fines and forfeitures and $121,000, net, 
from Jefferson County, the only coun- 
ty whose officers are required to live 
within the constitutional limitation of 
$5,000 salary. 

Where State's Money Goes. 

The net cost to the State in support- 
ing the courts and County Tax Com- 
missioners, and remunerating Sheriffs 
and Clerks and Jailers, outside 
their ordinary fees, is $1,107,000. Added 
to this, the school funds make up 
$5,407,000 of State revenues, which 
go toward the support of local and 
county expenses. 

Out of the $14,700,000 revenues, 
$4,300,000 go to schools, and another 
$1,600,000 to the University, normal 
schools, road and sinking funds, leav- 
ing $8,800,000 for general expendi- 
tures. Two millions of this from gaso- 
line and motor taxes belong to roads, 
another $2,000,000 supports the insti- 
tutions, $1,000,000 goes to county and 
circuit court officers, reducing the 
fund to $3,800,000, out of which comes 
all the salaries of state officers and 
employes, their expenses and office 
supplies, support for the Confederate 
Home, Schools for the Blind and the 
Deaf, the Kentucky Normal and In- 
dustrial Institute, and the Kentucky 
Children's Home Society. Confeder- 
ate pensions cost $300,000, interest on 
warrants amounts to $170,000, the De- 
partment of Agriculture draws $136,- 
000, the Auditor's departments $124,- 
000; the State Board of Health $205,- 
000; the Tax Commission $153,000, 
and when the Governor's, Secretary 
of State's, Treasurer's, and Attorney 
General's offices, the Court of Appeals, 
Railroad Commission, Library Com- 
mission, Historical Society, Geological 
Survey, Workmen's Compensation 
Board, Military Department, Banking 


Department, Public Buildings, De- 
partment of Mines, Game and Fish 
Commission and vocational education 
are figured in, it will require more 
than a sweeping generalization to des- 
ignate out of which enough revenues 
can be cut to ease the burden of the 
taxpayers, especially since the re- 
quirements of the educational and 
charitable Institutions call for more, 
rather than less revenue. 


(Courier- Journal Editorial, 
July 5, 1922.) 

Today Mr. Armentrout touches up- 
on one feature of the period covered 
by his investigation of Kentucky's 
government which has furnished most 
of the silver lining to the cloud that 
has shadowed the State. The reform 
of the tax system, accomplished 
after years of assiduous perseverance 
to overcome most formidable obstacles 
of demagogy, fallacy, fossilism and Ig- 
norant indifference, not only is rich- 
ly justifying the wisdom of its insti- 
tution but in Itself is a warrant for 
the hope of other reforms necessary 
to a modernized Kentucky. After re- 
placing the old tax system with the 
new, nothing should be regarded as 
impossible by those who wish to see 
the State in the march of sound prog- 

It is unnecessary to dwell here on 
the benefits which this reform already 
has worked. Those benefits now are 
of common knowledge. As Mr. Ar- 
mentrout says, "the new tax law has 
done automatically all Its advocates 
expected of the law itself; it has 
brought out intangibles, and bank de- 
posits have multiplied on the tax list 
ten fold. It has produced additional 
revenues. They amounted to $9,200,- 
000 in 1917; to $10,400,000 in 1918; to 
$12,200,000 in 1919; to $11,600,000 in 
1920, and $14,700,000 in 1921." 

If the results under the law, lncom 
parably superior as they have demon- 
strated It to be to the old law, ar« 

not as yet all they should be the de- 
fect is not in the law, but in its ad- 
ministration. The Tax Commission 
has been groping its way, sometimes 
with stumbling steps, toward uniform 
assessments. That may yet be reached. 
It will be reached — and even an 
equitable coal tax — if the people of 
Kentucky respond to the lesson which 
Mr. Armentrout's bit of history 
teaches and take the government of 
the State into their own hands. 

'it is significant that our Governors, 
since the adoption of the new tax 
system, have looked to it to supply 
sufficient surplus revenues to pay off 
the State debt— that is, in the next Ad- 
ministration. This thing of paying 
off the State debt is always — after a 
candidate has been elected Governor — 
a game of "puss in the corner," with 
puss ever in the next corner. Gov- 
ernor Morrow did hint six months ago 
— would he repeat the hint now? — that 
puss might be found in his own cor- 
ner. "If," he said, "expenditures are 
not increased by extravagant appropri- 
ations, Kentucky can and will, with- 
out any increase in the tax rate, pay off 
the public debt well within the next two 
years. When this is done a substan- 
tial decrease in the ad valorem tax 
on real property can be made." And 
this, notwithstanding the fact that the 
new law has produced an increase of 
revenue far more than enough to set- 
tle the debt. 

It is observable that in official quar- 
ters the great desideratum of a suf- 
ficient increase of revenue to liqui- 
date the State debt — without cutting 
down extravagant and useless expen- 
ditures — is the resulting ability to 
lower the tax rate — without cutting 
down extravagant and useless expen- 
ditures. And yet when Governor 
Morrow spoke of the possibility of 
extinguishing the debt and decreasing 
the tax rate he also admitted that he 
did not undertake "to dwell upon the 
very important subject of the condi- 
tion, needs and activities of the 
State's penal and charitable institu- 

tions, nor to cover the demand for the 
development and extension of the 
State's institutions of higher ' educa- 

But that is a subject which must 
be dwelt upon when surplus revenues 
are turned to wiping out the debt. 
Will the tax rate be then reduced, or 
will the needs of the State Institutions 
be attended to? Or will it be made 
possible to answer both these ques- 
tions affirmatively by the discontinu- 
ance of extravagant and useless ex- 
penditures? Judging by the story of 
the last fourteen years, what reason 
is there for believing that these ques- 
tions will be answered right until the 
people dictate the answers? 

They are questions which cannot be 
dodged, whatever effort may be made 
to pass them on to the "next corner." 
Mr. Armentrout is well within bounds 
when he reminds us that "all of Ken- 
tucky's institutions are from a century 
to half a century old, ill adapted to 
modern methods of administration, ex- 
panded from time to time with little 
regard to economy of operation, and 
it is estimated that the saving in oper- 
ating costs would pay a good profit 
on the initial expense of reconstruc- 

The readers of this series of articles 
should make a marginal note right 
here, to the effect that the conditions 
so seriously handicapping Kentucky's 
institutions and reflecting so unfavor- 
ably on Kentucky's humanity are the 
monuments of the State's misgovern- 
ment, which the facts as marshalled 
by Mr. Armentrout reveal. If we are 
to have better government it must be 
through a realization by the people 
to whom these articles are addressed, 
that they, as well as the men they al- 
low to go to Frankfort, are responsible 
for the sort of government we have 

The hope of better things in this dl 
rection is encouraged by the history 
of tax reform in Kentucky. That re- 
form was achieved not from within, but 
from without, the State Government 

Governors in their usual perfunctory 
way did recommend It in general 
terms and a few progressive spirits in 
the Legislature did champion it intel- 
ligently and loyally. But the real 
work of impressing the need and the 
nature of the reform upon the State 
and of giving the proposed innovation 
concrete shape was done unofficially 
by citizens who devoted the time and 
toil of years to a systematic campaign 
of education and promotion and who 

thus in the end heat down barriers of 
public prejudice, misinformation and 
stagnation that had appeared all but 

It is because there are no more Im- 
pregnable barriers between the people 
of Kentucky and good government 
that The Courier-Journal is confident 
that good government can be achieved 
in the same way that one feature of 
it, tax reform, already has been 


The State Tax Commission has been 
furnished $20,000 by the 1922-23 Budget 
with which to acquire data for an 
equitable assessment of the coal areas 
of Kentucky. An observer, inexpert 
in such matters, can only bid them 
Godspeed and wish them well in their 
undertaking to assess coal in the hill. 

Thiere is more than a tax problem, 
though, in the gigantic enterprise that 
has grown the last decade within the 
walled recesses of the Kentucky Ap- 
palachians. The extent of it is scarce- 
ly realized in other parts of the Com- 
monwealth. Along with development 
have come increased expenses on the 
state government and an enormous 
increase in population, alien to the 
soil, multiplying the educational diffi- 
culties, magnifying the political influ- 
ence of Uve section. The problem is no 
less social, political and ethical than it 
is economic. It has developed in ttoje 
decade of 1910 to 1920. 

Let the story be told of that vast 
empire of barely revealed riches, em- 
bracing Knox, Bell and Harlan on the 
headwaters of the Cumberland; Perry 
on the headwaters of the Kentucky; 
Johnson, Floyd and Pike in the Sandv 
Valley, and Letcher, straddline the 
divide. They are a mass erouD: Har- 
lan, Perry and Pike touch Letcher, 
yet they are reached by three differ- 
ent railroads and none crosses Letcher. 
Each division, outside its own water- 
shed, is more comfortably in touch 
with the Bluegrass or the Ohio Vallev 
than with its mountain neighbors. 

Twenty-nine \ 

This hard, unsociable character of 
mountain topography, so different 
from her people's, is typical of an en- 
vironment that has brought Kentucky 
botioi romance and misfortune. 

Kentucky's problems and possibili- 
ties both, arise from geological condi- 
tions; and this all pertains to the sit- 
uation in the coal fields. 

Her very political history relates 
back to th,ose same primordial causes, 
which left the carboniferous series in 
the Cumberland Plateau, while they 
carved its westward face into a rug- 
ged, almost impenetrable escarpment, 
denuded the great central heights 
down to their floor of Ordoviclan lime- 
stone, and depressed the coal-bearing 
mountains of West Kentucky, between 
the Bluegrass and alluvial plains of 
Jackson's Purchase, once salt marshes 
of the north gulf coast. Thus was it 
ordained that the Mountains should 
have one kind of culture, as geog- 
raphers use the term, the Bluegrass 
mother and the Pennyrile and Pur- 
chase another, and thus was the stage 
set before man appeared for the slave- 
less and isolated mountaineers to be 
Republicans, and the residents of the 
Purchase, in intimate contact with the 
South, to be Democrats. Then, as if 
that were not enough, Time with h<er 
pliant tools of air and water drained 
the eroded eastern plateau with four 
noble rivers, which shot across the 
state north and south, threw geo- 
graphical barriers between sections, 
whose people already were destined to 

be divided into distinct groups in poli- 
tics and industry, though of one blood, 
and that the purest of any population 
In the Union. 

The mountain people, cut off from 
intercourse with the outside world, 
naturally retained many pioneer vir- 
tues, but their hillside land was thin 
and subject to erosion. They were 
poor and denied educational advant- 
ages. So it obtained until after the 
census of 1910. Developments had al- 
ready commenced at that time, of 
course; mines were being opened and 
railroad lines extended. Yet the great 
influx of population did not show in 
that enumeration. It did In 1920. 

All of this group on the headwaters 
of the three rivers gained. Their sec- 
tion, including some other counties, 
was about the only one in the State 
that did gain. Agricultural counties, 
for the most part, lost in population. 
Pike, the largest county in Kentucky, 
grew from 31,679 to 49,477 in ten years; 
Harlan from 10,566 to 31,546; Letcher 
from 10,623 to 24,467; Perry from 11,- 
225 to 26,042; Floyd from 18,623 to 27,- 
427. Knox and Bell, earlier in a de- 
velopment and traversed by the Pine 
Mountain "fault," gained 3,000 each, 
and Johnson less than 2,000. 

Harlan, Letcher and Perry in 1910 
were poor counties, in the class with 
Jackson and Knott In the mountains, 
Edmonson in southern and Livingston 
in western Kentucky. Pike, Bell and 
Knox were even at that time among 
the more populous of the rural coun- 
ties. Pike produced a revenue of 
$29,000 for the State, less than Marion 
or Lincoln. Bell produced $34,000, con- 
siderably less than Franklin; Knox 
produced $20,000, in the class with 
Hart; Harlan produced $19,000; Floyd 
$17,000; Johnson $14,000; Letcher $12,- 
000, and Perry only $9,600. They cost 
the State, net, above the taxes and 
licenses they contributed: Pike, $34,- 
000; Knox, $30,000; Bell, $25,000; Floyd, 
$24,000; Johnson, $20,000; Perry, $16,- 
000; Harlan $13,000, and Letcher, $11,- 

Pike in 1921 paid into the State 
Treasury $107,000; Harlan, $88,000; 
Bell, $87,000; Perry, $62,000; Letcher, 
$55,000; Floyd, $49,000; Johnson, $43,- 
000 and Knox, $41,000. 

Complications With Growth. 

The Increase in revenues is greater 
than the deficit in their balance with 
the State In 1910; but the growth of 
business and population has Increased 
litigation and crime, and consequent 
court costs. The school population is 
greater, and these counties draw a 
larger per capita out of the state 
school fund. How the latter is affect- 
ed is shown by the following table of 
state school funds paid out to them: 

1910. 1921. 

Bell $36,646 $67,300 

Floyd 28,951 51,173 

Harlan 16,729 56,478 

Johnson 26,911 36,521 

Knox 32,403 45,970 

Letcher 17,201 41,931 

Perry 18,201 46,593 

Pike 49,418 99,362 

Of course, the per capita itself has 
been increased; but population is the 
great factor In the ratio among coun- 

Three new circuit court districts 
have been added to this section to take 
care of the volume of litigation, and 
criminal costs and jury fees have prac- 
tically doubled, excepting in Bell and 
Knox, where jury fees were enormous 
in 1910 for some reason. 

Some comparisons with agricultural 
counties and those containing cities 
may be clarifying. Graves, in the Pur- 
chase, was a "pauper county" in 1910; 
but while Pike's state tax returns in- 
creased from $29,000 to $107,000 In ten 
years, state taxes in Graves increased 
from $60,000 to $138,000, without an 
increase in population, and instead of 
nhowlng a deficit of $3,000, as It did in 
1910, Graves contributed $60,000 to the 
state treasury above what it drew out. 
Pike, in 1921, was still a $19,000 lia- 
bility to the Commonwealth, and ev- 
ery one of these coal counties, save 
Harlan, in 1921, drew out of the state 
treasury more than it paid in. Har- 
lan contributed $9,000 above its own 
quota. Franklin in the ten years went 
up from $49,000 in state taxes to $111,- 
000, and Daviess, from $95,000 to 
$222,000, both paying in almost twice 
as much as they drew out. 

So much for general taxes, which 
the state commission Is directed to 
investigate. There is yet another 
field to explore. 


The "Mining Camp." 

A characteristic feature of the east- 
ern coal field Is the "mining camp." 
This group of counties is dotted over 
with such camps, unincorporated, and 
some of them as large as fourth class 
cities. Their populations necessarily 
are estimated; but there is a school 
census for comparisons. A person 
would naturally expect to find a con- 
siderable Increase In the value of town 
property, where the county seat Is 
booming and new towns are springing 
up, ready made. Yet the value of town 
lots in Harlan, containing Harlan 
and Lynch Mines, In 1921 was $1,320,- 
949, which was $273,000 less than 
Woodford returned for Versailles, al- 
though Versailles has only 672 school 
children and Harlan 1,424 and Lynch, 
Mines 953. Harlan County's town lot 
assessment is less than Jessamine 
County's for Nicholasville. 

Even Bell County has a town lot as- 
sessment of $130,000 less than Graves, 
which contains only Mayfield, while 
Pineville is a perfect gem of a little 
city set in a circlet of azure mountains, 
and Middlesboro is a third class city 
with a new hotel, Carnegie library and 

Letcher contains Jenkins with 1,904 
pupils; Fleming with 433, both mining 
camps, and Whitesburg with 323 pu- 
pils, but the total assessment of town 
lots in that county was only $499,000. 

These big, unincorporated mining 
camps are assessed as farm land and 
improvements. Each is absolutely con- 
trolled by the operating corporation. It 
owns the hotel, usually a fine one, it 
owns the picture shows and it owns the 
commissary, which has the exclusive 
trade of a crowded community, equal 
to a fourth-class city. The resident of 
one of these cities can calculate the 
rental value of a building, leased with 
the exclusive privilege of handling all 
the merchandise bought by the inhabi- 
tants, and arrive at an inadequate idea 
of what such a building is worth; In- 
adequate, because the mining camps 
have incomparably so much more 
spending money. Their inhabitants 
have no opportunity to purchase 
homes, little incentive to save and 
nothing in which to invest their sav- 

Commissary prices are said to be 


lower than the average and they are 
operated as much for the accommoda- 
tion of the population as for profit; 
but they, undoubtedly, do make a 
profit. Script Is issued to employes 
by big enterprises, like mines, and 
accepted at the commissaries. It was 
Bannie Tabor's bill to make commis- 
sary script legal tender at independent 
stores that had the misfortune to 
get lost before it was enrolled the last 
day of the 1922 General Assembly. 

Realty Values Puzzling. 

Real estate values in these camps 
are difficult to determine because 
transfers are rare; but in 1913 J. H. 
Bentley was awarded $43,000 in con- 
demnation proceedings for an acre in 
Jenkins, and the Court of Appeals af- 
firmed the judgment. An acre con- 
tains eight 50-foot lots, 100 feet deep, 
with a nine-foot alley through the 
block; and a valuation of $107.50 the 
front foot away from Main Street prob- 
ably would make a fourth-class city 
realtor open his eyes. 

Still there is an element of depre- 
ciation, justly claimed for mining 
camp property. They assert that 
when the coal is exhausted, all the 
equipment and the town Itself are 
worthless and a dead loss; but people 
who spend a million dollars on a 
tipple and half as much on a hotel, 
establish a city with sewers, water 
supply, electric lights and paved 
streets, and induce a railroad to build 
fifty miles of heavy mountain con- 
struction, are not exactly nomads, 

These quaint, well lighted, well 
drained, well governed cities, set down 
in the heart of the wilderness, have 
brought a new day to the mountains. 
Railroads have penetrated their fast- 
nesses, new blood and new ways of 
living have been carried into primitive 
communities. Kentuckians, acquaint- 
ed with the effects of industrial de- 
velopment, where manufacturing con- 
cerns attract workers and open a 
market for the countryside, will not 
be surprised that they have wonderful 
schools In the mining camps. They 
are scientifically constructed, well 
equipped and under first-class Instruc- 
tors, but they are graded districts. 
Every big mining operation and the 

best, if not most, of the railroad mile- 
age are In these districts. They pay 
no county school tax. 

The Mining Camp's Schools. 

Concerning these fine schools, the 
1921 Educational Survey report says: 

"The administration of the graded 
school districts in the coal-produc- 
ing counties calls for special com- 
ment. The coal companies appear 
friendly toward public education, en- 
ter actively into their management, 
and seem to be doing a great deal 
more for the schools than the law 
requires. But the arrangements 
are not infrequently of a paternalis- 
tic character. For example, a coal 
company builds and pays for the 
school house, and either rents or 
gives it rent-free to the board of 
trustees. If the funds available are 
not adequate for current mainte- 
nance, the company makes up the 
deficit. The company thus keeps it- 
self before the community as a pa- 
tron, and appears to be doing more 
than its bare duty to the communi- 
ty. In many cases, however, If the 
usual tax was levied, the communi- 
ty could do all these things — and 
more — for itself. Besides, it would 
own and control its own school 
plant; the school patrons would be 
accustomed to paying school taxes, 
and the community would have a 
self-respect impossible so long as it 
is the beneficiary of a corporation. 

"In some places the law is plainly 
ignored. To illustrate; in certain dis- 
tricts no school tax is levied; the 
coal companies, without authority 
of law, hold out a certain amount 
monthly from the wages of the 
miners, which, alorvg with what the 
companies donate, goes to support 
the school. The companies lead the 
communities to believe that they 
are expending far more than their 
ordinary school taxes, whereas in 
some instances they are saving hun- 
dreds, perhaps, thousands, of dollars 

These are the schools where the 
miners' children go, organized, if not 
with altruistic motives, at least wii.Ii 
a commendable desire to reduce the 
labor turnover by making living con- 
ditions satisfactory. But what of the 
native Kentucky mountaineers, pure- 
bred descendants of the original An- 
glo-Saxon settlers? How do they fare7 
Mountain Rural Schools. 
The Survey pictures their schools, 

"The great majority of rural 
schooUv>uses are one-room, box-like 
structures, essentially alike. They 
vary in size, number of windows 

and in having or not having 
porehes; but In all essential respects 
they are alike and almost all bad. 

"Half are in ill-repair. The roofs 
leak, the weather-boarding is off 
here and there, doors are broken, 
knobs gone, window panes out, walls 
stained, floors uneven and cracked, 
seats broken and a pall of dust over 

"A galvanized bucket with a com- 
mon drinking cup takes the place of 
the sanitary fountain; lavatory facil- 
ities are nonexistent. The black- 
board usually consists of the front 
wall and a few side wall spaces 
painted black, and is, as a rule, use- 
less, because of wear." 

Globes, maps and charts are rare. 

"The bulk of very poorly trained 
teachers are in the rural schools, 
where 77 per cent have had less 
than a full high school course, and 
30 per cent have, themselves, never 
advanced beyond the elementary 

"A young, untrained, undirected 
teacher holds school during 113 days 
out of 365; her school includes chil- 
dren from 6 to 16 years of age; they 
are divided into not less than seven 
classes and attend with distracting 
irregularity. She is, somehow, ex- 
pected, nevertheless, to teach to 
every age group in these seven un- 
stable classes, a half dozen to a 
dozen different subjects." 

There is little more in those moun- 
tains to tax than there was ten years 
ago, excepting the coal operations 
themselves and the railroads. These 
are incorporated in independent graded 
districts and do not contribute directly 
to the support of the rural common 
schools, though the taxpayers of the 
Bluegrass and the Pennyrile and the 
Purchase contribute through the state 
fund to botiii the mountain common 
schools and the mining camps' graded 

The Graded Districts. 

When such familiar names as 
Straight Creek, Lone Jack, Four Mile 
and Kettle Island in Bell are attached 
to graded districts, anyone can ap- 
preciate what wealth is available for 
the education of the 1,004 youths with- 
in their boundaries, and how little is 
left to tax for the education of the 
6,636 native Kentucky boys and girls 
up the hollows and among the spurs 
of Pine and Black Mountains. 

Floyd has Prestonburg, Wayland, 
Weeksbury and Wheelwright districts 
with 718 pupils, and 7,248 in the com- 


mon schools; Harlan has Evarts, Wait- 
ings Creek and Lynch Mines districts 
with 953 pupils, and 6,418 in the com- 
mon schools; Johnson has East Point, 
Palntsvllle, Van Lear and Jennie's 
Creek districts with. 1,412 pupils, and 
4,799 In the common schools; Knox 
has Artemus, Gray, Whltesburg and 
Wilton districts with 902 pupils, and 
6,994 in the common schools; Letcher 
has Jenkins, Colson, Fleming and 
Whltesburg districts with 1,904 pupils, 
and 5,159 in the common schools, and 
Pike has Elkhorn, Hardy, Hellier, Mc- 
Veigh and Stone districts with 1,432 
pupils, and 13,048 in the common 

McCreary, one of the poorest coun- 
ties In the State, aside from ih& rail- 
road and the Stearns operation, has a 
fine school at Stearns, where the 350 
pupils lack nothing In the way of fa- 
cilities; but outside the graded districts 
of Stearns, Barren Fork, Flat Rock, 
Greenwood, Pine Knot and Whitley 
City, the common schools make out 
with less than $10 per capita, and the 
State of Kentucky contributes $6.10 of 

that. , _ 

Where Politics Enter. 

While other sections of Kentucky 
indirectly feel the burden of support- 
ing courts and schools In that sec- 
tion, the native residents of the coal- 
producing counties are getting the 
worst of the deal. They have neither 
roads nor good schools. Yet, their Sen- 
ators and Representatives in the Gen- 
eral Assembly without exception have 
the coal industry on their hearts and 
minds. When the Crowe Coal tax bill, 
providing for both county and State, 
reached the Senate five years ago, it 
fairly ran into an ambuscade. It was 
late in the session and on a Saturday 
afternoon. Legislators from Central 
Kentucky had arranged to go home, 
leaving a sufficient number with the 
Lieutenant Governor, James D. Black, 
of Barbourville, to receive and refer 

all bills that might come over from 
the House. The Crowe bill was one 
of them. Immediately a motion was 
made to "postpone it indefinitely" and 
the point of order was raised that a 
quorum was not present. There were 
only nineteen of them; but all the Sen- 
ators from coal districts were on hand. 

The Constitution fixes the number 
of Senators at thirty-eight, and says 
"not less than a majority of the mem- 
bers of each House shall constitute a 
quorum," but one Senator had died, 
and the Lieutenant Governor held 
that there were only thirty-seven Sen- 
ators, so nineteen constituted a 
quorum. The bill was killed forth- 

At the last session Senators from 
coal counties frankly admitted they 
voted for the Thompson tax bill in 
the hope that the tonnage tax would 
not be pressed In the House. 

Political conditions In the coal fields 
are whatever they may be, unrestrain- 
ed by the safeguards demanded by the 
Constitution. Thirty years ago the 
framers of the Constitution thought 
the purity of the ballot so imperiled 
in congested centers, even where the 
population is native, that they in- 
structed the General Assembly to "pro- 
vide by law for the registration of all 
persons entitled to vote in cities an 
towns having a population of 5,000 
or more." 

Suffice it to say, that mining camps 
of 5,000, eaGh owned by one concern, 
which employs all its inhabitants, are 
unincorporated. Their populations are 
foreign speaking, or alien, whose 
knowledge of Kentucky was gained 
from the car windows as they were be- 
ing transported from the coal fields of 
Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Vir- 
ginia, and the shifting masses of vo- 
ters in their crowded precincts are 
not required to register. 




No single Governor Kentucky has 
had since 1808 has failed to denounce 
his predecessors for creating useless 
offices. The state payroll, taken from 
the Auditor's report, has been used in 
each campaign as telling and concrete 
proof of the "extravagance and 
waste" that produced an.*, perpetuated 
the state debt. The payroll under 
Beckham was shown by Willson to be 
$275,000, and this was used by Mc- 
Creary as a comparison with $333,000 
under Willson. That, of course, in 
turn was employed in the same way 
by Morrow in 1915; for it had grown, 
according to the Auditor's report, to 
$376,000 in McCreary's time. It was 
$393,000 under Stanley, and it is more 
now; though that deceptive column 
does not appear in the budget. 

In successive campaigns the re- 
sources of English idioms were ex- 
hausted by four accomplished rheto- 
ricians in denouncing so profligate a 
waste of the people's money. Words 
must have failed them, had they 
learned the truth, which is, that not 
one of them ever guessed within 
$8,000,000 of what the state's payroll 
actually amounts to. And that isn't 
all they didn't know about the pay- 
roll; for, if all the employes at the Cap- 
itol, regardless of whether they are 
useless or not, were discharged and all 
the Jobs, excepting constitutional of- 
fices and those necessary to man the 
schools and institutions, were abol- 
ished, it wouldn't save enough to re- 
duce taxes the half of a cent on the 

How Offices Are Abolished. 

The survey idea grew out of this no- 
tion of abolishing "useless offices." 
Governor Stanley in his inaugural ad- 
dress declared that every unnecessary 
office should be immediately abolished. 
The Senate appointed a special com- 
mittee to look into the matter. It 
sat a few days and as a result of a 
hastily prepared report, the Automo- 
bile Department was put under the 
State Tax Commission, otherwise an 
assessing, not a collecting, agency, 
without reducing the overhead; De- 

partments of Forestry and Geology 
were combined to the embarrassment 
of the former and detriment of the lat- 
ter, and a few other changes were 
made. The committee admitted that 
it did not have time for an investiga- 
tion, but the members did observe 
enough to warrant them In recom- 
mending the appointment of a recess 
committee to go into the subject thor- 
oughly. A bill, embodying the recom- 
mendation, passed the Senate, but 
was tabled in the House on motion of 
Representative W. F. Klair of Lexing- 

Governor Morrow renewed the idea 
of abolishing useless offices in 1920. 
He was specific. He marked for de- 
struction the Motor Vehicle Depart- 
ment, the Fire Marshal, State Insur- 
ance Rating Board and State For- 
ester. The Motor Vehicle Department 
at that time had a chief clerk, three 
inspectors, four clerks, three stenog- 
raphers and a porter with a total pay- 
roll of $19,440. Its annual expense 
was $76,000. It was abolished, and 
the County Clerks were directed to 
issue motor licenses. The depart- 
ment, now that it has ceased to exist, 
according to the Blue Book, January, 
1922, has a payroll of $16,740, with a 
chief clerk, three other clerks, four in- 
spectors, a stenographer and porter. 
Its expenses for the year ending June 
30, 1921, were $84,000. 

The Forester was abolished with a 
$15,000 appropriation and added to the 
Department of Agriculture with a $6,- 
000 appropriation. 

The Fire Marshal and Rating Board 
were totally consumed in the flames 
of executive irony; but there was erect- 
ed by the same Act the less personal, 
if more impressive, Bureau of Fire 
Prevention and Rates, with the fees in- 
tact, all patronage loss to the Audi- 
tor having been fully covered. 

The Efficiency Survey. 

To the 1922 session, Governor Mor- 
row recommended a survey by an ex- 
pert. The Lawrence Act substantial- 
ly conforms to the recommendation, 
the difference being that It provides 

for a commission, appointed by the 
Governor, with authority to engage 
whatever expert assistance it requires 
within the $25,000 appropriation. 

In view of the reiterated charges of 
waste, extravagance and useless of- 
fices made by the successful candi- 
dates for governor in four campaigns, 
a careful searcn was made to find 
what waste and extravagance and use- 
less offices they had unearthed during 
their years in office, and what they had 
done to curtail them. Nothing was 
found. According to the records, the 
1918 General Assembly, on its own ini- 
tiative, instituted the first effort that 
evinced an appreciation of the magni- 
tude of the State's business. 

The frame work of the government 
Is known to every school child: a 
government of laws, consisting of a 
legislative branch of 100 representa- 
tives and thirty-eight senators to 
make the laws; a judicial branch, con- 
sisting of seven judges of the Court 
of Appeals and forty-three circuit 
judges to interpret the laws; an 
executive branch composed of a Gov- 
ernor, Secretary of State, State Audi- 
tor of Public Account, State Treasur- 
er, Attorney-General, State Superin- 
tendent of Public Instruction, Com- 
missioner of Agriculture, Labor and 
Statistics, a clerk of the Court of Ap- 
peals, and Railroad Commission to ex- 
ecute the laws. 

In operation, however, its police 
powers and administrative activities 
cover a vast field. There are appoint- 
ed by the Governor the State Board 
of Charities and Corrections, having 
charge of four asylums, two prisons, 
the Houses of Reform and Institute 
for Feeble Minded; the Game and Fish 
Commission, the Banking Commis- 
sioner, the State Highway Commis- 
sion, the Workmen's Compensation 
Board, the State Tax Commission, the 
Confederate Pension Commission, the 
Kentucky Library Commission, the 
State Board of Health, the State 
Board of Agriculture, the State Llve- 
itock Sanitary Board, the Adjutant 
General, the State Inspector and Ex- 
aminer, trustees of the University of 
Kentucky, Normal and Industrial In- 
stitute, the School for Deaf, the School 
for the Blind and the Confederate 


Home, regents of the Normal Schools, 
the State Racing Commission, direc- 
tors of the Geological Survey and va- 
rious examining boards for technical 

15,000 Employes of State. 

The State Auditor has under his 
patronage the Insurance Department 
and the Bureau of Fire Prevention 
and Rates. 

Even that is a simple outline. As 
a matter of fact, 840 county officers, 
13,000 school teachers, the faculties of 
the educational institutions, the per- 
sonnel of the State institutions, all 
the departmental clerks and forty- 
three circuit judges and thirty-six 
Commonwealth's attorneys comprise 
a grand total of some 15,000 employes 
and a state payroll of approximately 
$8,500,000. They multiply the respon- 
sibilities a Governor assumes when 
he becomes the head of an organiza- 
tion turning over $16,000,000 in cash 
every year. He has under him, em- 
ployed by the State, representatives 
of every known profession, trade and 
science, and every type of human 

The State conducts schools of every 
kind — for bad boys and girls and for 
good boys and girls, for the ambitious, 
the delinquent, the defective, and for 
those so maimed by injury that they 
have to learn a new trade. It trains 
teachers for all these schools and it 
maintains a college. It furnishes 
power and light for seven factories; 
It lodges and clothes and feeds 6,000 
persons; it values every bit of prop- 
erty of every description every year, 
builds roads and bridges, sees to the 
fish and game supply, and its police 
powers touch every profession and in- 
dustry within its borders. 

It would seem that a Governor 
would be kept busy hunting down in 
four short years all the possible ex- 
travagance, waste and useless offices 
in this vast establishment. It must 
be admitted that the executive toe, 
figuratively, has lifted some office hold- 
er out the front door of every depart- 
ment and Institution in Kentucky; but 
there are front doors of departments 
and institutions that literally haven't 
swung open In fourteen years to ad- 
mit the executive foot. 

The Public Institutions. 

Public Institutions, schools and 
roads consume the greater part of 
public revenues and employ a large 
majority of the public office holders. 
The status of the institutions was re- 
vealed by a survey when a nonpartisan 
Board of Charities and Corrections un- 
dertook their reformation. 

The prisons had been merely places 
of incarceration, subjected to sporadic 
disorganizing experiments In amateur 
reform. Even the parole system bore 
the implication of sentimental consid- 
eration. Its administration was gen- 
erally quite as much a matter of poli- 
tics as the granting of a pardon, and. 
If any supervision was maintained 
over hundreds of paroled convicts, the 
records have disappeared 

Venereal diseases were taking their 
toll at the prisons and asylums alike. 
Now no man Is discharged until he is 
cured, even if he has to be restrained 
under quarantine after his term ex- 

At the asylums insane of every type, 
curable and Incurable; epileptics, the 
most dangerous class known, and 
criminal insane, were quartered to- 
gether with little idea of segregation 
beyond convenience in handling. They 
sat about all day idle, with nothing to 
do but muse on their own hallucina- 
tions. There was not an open ward 
In the State. There is now, and occu- 
pational therapy — the employment of 
everybody at some occupation, how- 
ever light and negligible — is winning 
patients back to normality and reduc- 
ing trouble in the "disturbed" wards 
to an unheard-of minimum. 

There were no clinics; there were no 
observation wards; no thorough men- 
tal or physical examinations. Or If 
there were, there Is no record, and 
it does not seem possible that the 
small staffs, with which the institu- 
tions were manned, and their meager 
equipment, could have been equal to 
the task. The superintendents could 
not be blamed; it was the "system." 

Many good and capable men occas- 
ionally have sat on boards, but their 
Initiative was hampered by legal re- 
straints and their efforts neutralized 
by the "system." 

Only a Dickens could describe con- 

ditions at the Houses of Reform, 
where little boys were shut In a dark, 
unwholesome dungeon as punishment 
for delinquency, attributable often, It 
has been disclosed, to defective vision, 
adenoids, bad teeth or diseased ton- 
sils; where, ragged and uncared for, 
they earned 15 to 25 cents a day for 
the State by their toil in a factory 
that made wire rat traps. 

Successive grand juries did not do 
Justice to the Institute for Feeble 
Minded Children. The inmates were 
dirty, ill-clothed and ill-fed in winter, 
and a veritable epidemic of trachoma 
was working havoc among them 
when the present board began its med- 
ical examinations. 

The physical plants have been sub- 
jected to the same expert inspection 
as the inmates by the Board of Char- 
ities and Correction. The best en- 
gineering advice has been obtained, 
and the plants are being brought up 
to as serviceable state as their age 
and construction will permit. The 
Board has standardized the supplies 
and established an operating audit 
for all the institutions. 

Schools In Campaigns. 

Schools always have figured in 
state campaigns, party platform plat- 
itudes on this subject being reduced 
almost to a formula; but never do 
they seem to have been considered 
from an economic point of view. 
"Pointing with pride" has been the 
rule the last part of the period until 
the Educational Survey was heard 

Governor McCreary expressed grat- 
ification over the result of the 1912 
compulsory attendance law, and Gov- 
ernor Stanley, something like a year 
before the invalid 1919 textbook 
adoption, told the 1918 General As- 
sembly that "the school system has 
been made more efficient by Acts 
preventing sudden and unnecessary 
changes in textbooks." 

Governor McCreary remarked in 
his 1914 message, though not in ap- 
position, that illiteracy had been re- 
duced 94,000 the last year and the 
rural school attendance brought up 
to 48 per cent. What he meant, of 
course, was that 94,000 adult illiter- 
ates had been taught to scribble their 


names and spell out simple words, 
and the converse of his exposition of 
the school attendance necessarily 
was that 62 per cent, or 200,000 rural 
children out of school, formed a re- 
serve for replacements that was fill- 
ing gaps in the ranks of adult illiter- 
ates with a large annual increment. 

Governor Willson entered office at 
the very beginning of an educational 
revival and J. G. Crabbe was the 
State Superintendent. The Beckham 
administration, by revising the tax 
rate, provided the schools with an an- 
nually increasing revenue, and es- 
tablished a state standard and price 
for textbooks. Then, in 1908, for the 
first time the Kentucky General As- 
sembly made local support of public 
schools mandatory. 

Superintendent Crabbe entertained 
no illusions about educational condi- 
tions and the Governor quoted him 
freely. He calculated the average at- 
tendance at 44 per cent and surmised 
that half the $3,000,000 distributed 
among the schools annually was being 
"squandered through neglect, careless- 
ness and incapacity" of local agencies, 
a surmise that now, after the lapse of 
ten years, becomes attested verity on 
the proof submitted by the Educa- 
tional Survey. 

The state of attendance, though 
showing an average of 66 per cent, 
some 480,000 children out of school, 
was worse than Superintendent Crabbe 
apprehended. Had it been correctly 
assumed that the other 311,000 chil- 
dren were attending regularly, allow- 
ing for the number between 15 and 
20 who had finished the grades, or 
were attending private schools, and 
youngsters who didn't start at 6, the 
situation would not have been so 
bad. But the survey shows that the 
present average of 71 per cent attend- 
ance in rural schools Is a mean be- 
tween a maximum of the total enroll- 
ment at the opening of the term and 
a minimum toward its close of less 
than 20 per cent. By actual test, with 
an average attendance of 71 per cent 
in 1921 fewer than half the rural chil- 
dren received as much as 60 days of 
schooling during the year. 

If what Superintendent Crabbe sur- 
mised in 1910 and the Educational 
Survey of 1921 observed continued 


throughout the years between, the 
State of Kentucky, in twelve years dis- 
tributed to the common schools $40,- 
000,000, of which S20.000.000 was wast- 
ed along with untold millions of local 
school taxes: because no provision 
was made tor adequate inspection and 
supervision of the public schools. 

State Highway. 

It may be the "good roads" spirit 
temporarily overshadowed the ardor 
with which educational progress was 
urged the first decade of the century. 
Whatever the cause, public schools 
received rather perfunctory, if prom- 
inent mention until 1920: but no time 
was lost thinking about the problem 
of road improvement before it was 
undertaken. The State Ronrt Depart- 
ment Is six years younger than the 
state debt, and 120 years younger than 
the Commonwealth; yet it has a debt 
of its own of $3,000,000, more than 
half as much as that of the Common- 

The department was created in 1912, 
an advisory force of engineers, whose 
services were practically at the be- 
hest of fiscal courts. Two years 
later Governor McCreary assured the 
General Assembly that "the road 
system has proved satisfactory." At 
that session a five »<ent road tax was 
added to the state levy and an tnter- 
county seat system sketchily defined, 
which was to be constructed with 
state aid and maintained by the coun- 
ties. The system was 6,400 miles long, 
as nearly as could be estimated, and 
a calculation, apparently not consid- 
ered essential at the time, puts the 
cost of construction at somewhere In 
the neighborhood of $200,000,000. The 
state road fund amounted to only 
$700,000; but the Democratic platform 
of 1915 solemnly gave assurance that 
the people might expect the comple- 
tion of this ambitious project in three 
years and have a fine system of high- 
ways connecting all the county-seats. 

It was discovered though, that only 
well-to-do counties could take advan- 
tage of state aid. So, in 1916 tbp 
plan was amended by graduating the 
amount of state aid to the county 
assessment, and permitting a county 
to procure state funds by forgiving 
the State whatever percentage the 

county might have been entitled to, 
If It had funds of Its own to meet 
state aid, which it didn't. Thus the 
system continued until 1918. 

Governor Stanley m his message to 
the 1918 General Assembly exclaimed, 
"wise and well considered laws have 
been passed, extending and improving 
highways." That session made pro- 
vision to accept federal aid, which re- 
quires high type construction, and 
started the State on the policy of put- 
ting in fragmentary sections of trunk 
line projects wherever local funds 
could be raised to meet the federal 

The 1920 session relocated the whole 
scheme, adopted a primary system of 
state highways only 3,000 miles long, 
created a commission and gave the 
state department absolute control over 
contracts and construction, involving 
state aid. The new department In- 
herited a debt of $5,000,000 for county 
advancements, old state aid contracts 
under construction, other projects un- 
der the old law to which the State 
was committed, and a policy of patch- 
work federal aid projects, already en- 
tered upon. During the intervening 
period up to 1920, 4.000 miles were 
surveyed, much of which will never 
be constructed by the State; twenty- 
eight counties, under the spell of 
broadcast propaganda, voted bonds; 
more levied a special tax. Not less 
than $25,000,000 was spent on high- 
way projects, besides $5,000,000 ap- 
plied annually by fiscal courts to local 
roads. And most of the roads long 
since have fallen into disrepair, as 
evidenced by their failure to come up 
to the standards for state main- 

Isolated From Railroads. 

Throughout the years of experi- 
mentation, earnest legislative efforts 
failed to extend the work outside the 
counties that can help themselves. 
After ten years the counties, contain- 
ing Kentucky's billions of wealth in 
undeveloped natural resources, re- 
main Isolated both from railroads and 
market roads. 

Other poor counties, whose courts 
and schools largely subsist off state 
revenues collected from their more 
prosperous neighbors, now can claim 

credit for equal neighborliness, accord- 
ing to their capacity to contribute 
ad valorem, motor vehicle and gaso- 
line taxes toward the rehabilitation 
and maintenance of wealthier coun- 
ties' highways. 

The state road fund amounts to 
$3,000,000 annually, but a half million 
must be set aside annually to reim- 
burse counties for state aid advance- 
ments. Maintenance will take as 
much more, and the balance Is mostly 
tied up with local contributions to 
meet federal aid on trunk line thor- 
oughfares. Maintenance shortly will 
absorb the whole fund, and reconstruc- 
tion of the growing mileage of 
macadam pikes ultimately must be 

Within a decade Kentucky has re- 
located and reconstructed her paper 
highway system; but much of the pre- 
liminary thinking still remains to be 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 7, 1922.) 

The problem of an equitable taxa- 
tion of the coal areas of Kentucky has 
been approached from various angles 
in recent years, but Its solution ts 
still in the future. It must be 
solved, not only to require the 
coal regions to bear their share of 
the cost of government, but espe- 
cially in the interest of the poverty- 
oppressed native population of the 
coal counties, whose condition in com- 
parison with that of the anomalous 
mining camps is intolerable. If the 
problem is to be solved satisfactorily 
it must be taken by a business ad- 
ministration out of the spheres of 
"politics" and "invisible government." 
In the preceding paper of Mr. Armen- 
trout's serial his exposition of the sit- 
uation, with Its historic background 
and baffling "underground," will be 
new to most Kentuckians. 


Most of the facta presented by Mr. 
Armentrout today are little better 
known by the people generally, whose 
Interests are Intimately affected by 
them. Political campaigners usually 
Indict the other party for the condi- 
tions attributable to those facts, but 
that is mainly a matter of course and 
a matter of custom, for they are not 
much, if any, better informed about 
the facts than are the audiences they 
undertake to enlighten. 

Representatives of both political par- 
ties make much ado about the great 
saving that should be effected by the 
abolition of "useless offices" and 
promise to distinguish themselves as 
abolitionists. But the spasmodic move- 
ments made to redeem that promise re- 
sult, where they result at all, in the 
shifting or merging of a few compar- 
atively unimportant offices, sometimes 
at an increase of expense instead of 
a saving, and in more Instances than 
one at an impairment of service. 

A bill for the appointment of a 
committee to make a thorough sur- 
vey with a view to ascertaining what 
are the useless offices that should be 
abolished failed to get through the 
General Assembly. But even if the 
survey had been made It is by no 
means sure that any material bene- 
fits would have followed. Undoubt- 
edly offices are useless under the 
present official system of the State 
that would be highly useful if that 
system were properly administered by 
an administering head. There are 
some 15,000 offices in the system, and 
the way to put the useless offices out 
of it is to get the great official ma- 
chine into efficient running order, 
performing, like a piece of good ma- 
chinery, the functions for which it 
was created. That done, the useless 
offices — the "idle" wheels and "neu- 
tral" gears — will soon become appar- 
ent; the useful and the useless offices 
clearly self-differentiated. 

But this great machine cannot get 
into efficient running order without 
a real head. The law makes the Gov- 


ernor the nominal head; it is for blm 
to make himself the real head. It 
would be a stupendous, an impossible, 
task for him to attempt to assume 
personal responsibility for the proper 
performance of their duties by the 
officeholders under him, except as he 
exercises responsibility through the 
organization, the machine, which he 
constructs and should direct. The 
trouble is that he makes that machine 
too much a political machine, Instead 
of strictly a machine for doing the 
work of the State, such as it was 
meant to be by those who designed it 
and placed him at its head. When a 
Governor becomes a "Chief Execu- 
tive," as the Constitution intended him 
to be, and runs the executive machin- 
ery of the State as the Constitution 
intended it should be run, regardless 
of personal or party politics, he will 
not have to guess what are the use- 
less offices or call upon a committee 
to find them for him. 

The magnitude of the official ma- 
chine which the Governor heads is 
well indicated by Mr. Armentrout to- 
day. It is fair to note, however, that 
for the costly defects of the judiciary 
the Governor's responsibility is not so 
great as that of the Legislature, if we 
close our eyes to his failure to meet 
fully his responsibility of leadership 
in the work of the Legislature. 
• • • 

The shortcomings of the school sys- 
tem are perhaps more familiar to Ken- 
tuckians than the details of most of 
the subjects with which Mr. Armen- 
trout deals, having figured conspic- 
uously in all recent campaigns. But 
the facts which he cites add further 
emphasis to the recognized failure of 
anybody to keep the promises, which 
everybody has been making, to give 
the State the schools which it must 
have if it is to take the place among 
American Commonwealths to which 
its riches and opportunities entitle it 
and which its duty demands. Ken- 
\ tucky's backwardness in education is 
' notorious. Not Mr. Armentrout, but 
the authoritative Educational Survey 
of 1921 is responsible for the indict- 

ment that in twelve years the State 
distributed to the common schools 
$40,000,000, of which $20,000,000 was 
wasted, In addition to untold mil- 
lions of local school taxes. 

• * • 

The melancholy story of Kentucky's 
roads is probably as well known as 
that of Kentucky's schools. Every- 
body hears much of good roads, but 
few Kentuckians ever see them, un- 
less they are fortunate enough to live 
In certain limited regions which make 
and maintain their own good roads 
as well as talk about them. Out- 
side of those regions Kentucky's good 
roads have been "on paper." Vast 
systems have been constructed on 
paper, where they have invariably 
remained. The steps that have been 
taken toward getting them anywhere 
else have been uncertain, blundering 
and futile. They have been that be- 
cause they were taken in ignorance 
of how to build good roads; how they 
were to be maintained If built; how 
the necessary supply of funds was to 
be insured. Good spots of roads have 
been laid, but most of them have not 
remained good spots because no ade- 
quate provision was made to keep 
them good. Mr. Armentrout thus 
sums up the present situation: 

The State road fund amounts to 
$3,000,000 annually, but a half mil- 
lion must be set aside annually to 
reimburse counties for State aid ad- 
vancements. Maintenance will take 
as much more, and the balance is 
mostly tied up with local contribu- 
tions to meet Federal aid on trunk 
line thoroughfares. Maintenance 
shortly will absorb the whole fund 
and reconstruction of the growing 
mileage of macadam pikes ultimate- 
ly must be financed. 

The hope of better things is en- 
couraged by the fact that our Igno- 
rance is being dispelled. We are 
learning what must be done to build 

good roads and keep them. The Legis- 
lature at Its recent session did some- 
thing to modify the law In that light. 
Best of all, it put the work in the 
hands of General Sibert, who will get 
all there is out of the available re- 
sources, with not a cent diverted to 
favoritism or politics. With him In 
command, Kentucky will yet have the 
good roads it talks about — if the peo- 
ple of Kentucky will only take charge 
of their government. 

• • • 

The most depressing feature of Mr. 
Armentrout's paper today is his re- 
lation of the conditions prevailing in 
the penal and charitable Institutions 
before the creation of the new Board 
of Charities and Corrections. It is 
almost incredible that in this age. In 
this country, such conditions should 
exist. That they did exist until so 
recently should still shame every 
Kentuckian. It is to the everlasting 
credit of Governor Morrow that he 
felt this shame and stood true to his 
campaign pledge to appoint the Board 
of Charities and Corrections, and it is 
a credit to the Legislature that It 
resisted the efforts of the spoilsmen 
of both parties to destroy that Board. 
It has worked wonders within its 
powers, handicapped as it Is by anti- 
quated buildings and inadequate 
funds. Nothing is surer than that It 
will make these institutions the pride 
instead of the shame of the State 
whenever it is given the authority 
and furnished the funds. 

That there is little prospect of that 
until a new order succeeds to that 
of the last fourteen years at Frank- 
fort, is one of the several urgent rea- 
sons why the people of Kentucky 
should compel a business administra- 
tion of State affairs. 



"The supreme executive power of 
the Commonwealth," says the Consti- 
tution of Kentucky, "shall be vested 
In a Chief Magistrate, who shall be 
styled the Governor of the Common- 
wealth of Kentucky." 

The Governor shall be "comman- 
der-in-chief of the army of the Com- 
monwealth: he shall have power to 
fill vacancies; he shall have power 
to remit fines and forfeitures, com- 
mute sentences, grant reprieves and 
pardons, except in cases of Impeach- 
ment; he may require information 
in writing from the officers of the 
Executive Department upon any 
subject relatmg to the duties of their 
offices; he shall give the General 
Assembly information on the state 
of the Commonwealth and recom- 
mend such measures as he shall 
deem expedient; he may on extraor- 
dinary occasions convene the Gen- 
eral Assembly; in case of disagree- 
ment between the two Houses with 
respect to the time of adjournment, 
he may adjourn them to such a 
time as he shall think proper; he 
shall take care that the laws be 
faithfully executed." 

That Is all set down in the organic 
law of the land. 

Politically, the Governor of Ken- 
tucky Is invested with the supreme at- 
tributes of sovereignty so far as a 
sovereign people have surrendered 
their immunities to the Government. 
He may call out the State's military 
arm to enforce his orders; he may 
veto legislation enacted by a co-ordi- 
nate branch of government; he may 
"remit fines, commute sentences and 
grant reprieves and pardons." 

The power to pardon, to forgive of- 
fenses against the law, for which the 
culprits have been tried, convicted and 
sentenced, is of the very essence of 
supreme authority, equal in degree to 
the power to punish, to call to arms. 
It is sovereign grace, exercised by 
family heads in the simplest known 
form of social organization, cherished 
by monarchs as a personal prerogative 
and preserved through revolution to 
come down as Grace Abounding to the 
politically elect in Kentucky. 

Some element of justice may have 
entered into It, but until kings went 
out of fashion and democracy came 


into its own, exercise of the pardoning 
power was always a matter of per- 
sonal privilege. Once, not 200 years 
ago, all felonies were punished by 
death. Except for this sovereign 
grace, the only escape from the heads- 
man was the Benefit of Clergy, intro- 
duced by the clergy to encourage lit- 
eracy after governments began to be- 
come popularized. Good, old Saxon 
forbears, who clubbed and stabbed 
their way to liberty, remembered the 
galleys and the block. They willed 
that no innocent person should suf- 
fer; so they retained the pardon 

To Be Done Discreetly. 

In Kentucky the people, when they 
adopted their Constitution, reminded 
their Chief Magistrate that the power 
was to be exercised discreetly. He is 
enjoined to give a "reason" in writing 
when he grants one, as if they 
thought he ought to confine himself 
to cases wherein a shrewd criminal 
lawyer with fifteen peremptory chal- 
lenges had failed to draw an unpreju- 
diced jury, and the seven learned 
Judges of the Court of Appeals had 
nodded over the record. 

But, somehow, that original taint 
of personal privilege clung to the pow- 
er; the courts would have to hold 
under the Doctrine of Contempora- 
neous Construction that the word 
"reason" in that section of the Consti- 
tution is synonymous with "excuse." 

Two thousand convicts in the 
prisons, and twenty times as many 
of their relatives, and thousands, 
who have done their time and want 
to vote, are scheming to brine what 
influence they can, of hope or fear, to 
bear upon the Chief Magistrate of 
this Commonwealth to undo the work 
of courts and juries. The ap- 
peal for clemency is presented as a 
personal matter between man and 
man; the Governor's emotions are 
wrought upon, his close political 
friends besiege him for this small 
favor, which concerns nobody but 
the prisoner and his family. 

Those friends of the Governor usual- 
ly see a chance to promote their own 
political prestige — maybe, sometimes, 

to enrich themselves; for a man, who 
wants out of prison or to escape the 
death chair, will pay any price, will 
stop at nothing. The Governor gets 
no credit. 

The pardon -seekers are much obliged 
to the politicians, who have "pull ' 
enough to "work" him, and once a poli- 
tician acquires a reputation for ability 
to procure pardons he Is embarrassed 
by demands upon his service. He has 
to make good with his following. Then, 
when the Governor finally is compelled 
to refuse and ruin his prestige, the 
politician, forgetful of past favors, be- 
comes the bitterest critic of the ad- 
ministration. Ask any Governor the 
last year of his term. 

In fourteen years 1,843 persons, 
convicted of crimes, have received 
clemency In the form of pardons, re- 
missions or commutations of sen- 

That approximates the average pop- 
ulation of the two prisons during that 
time; but the comparison can not be 
reduced to percentages, for the pardon 
is often a remission of a fine or jail 
sentence, commutation does not al- 
ways mean freedom, the sentences 
vary and the prison population is 
shifting. The figures would indicate, 
however, if the pardoning power were 
conscientiously exercised, that there 
is an appalling frequency of miscar- 
riage of Justice in Kentucky. 

Under Four Governors. 

Pardons under Willson, McCreary 
and Stanley ran along about evenly 
as to numbers, averaging 560, with Mc- 
Creary leading, Willson second and 
Stanley third. Governor Morrow, If 
he stops now, will have a record of 
about two-fifths that average. 

Willson's outstanding act, all recall, 
was the liberation of Caleb Powers and 
Jim Howard, convicted of complicity in 
the conspiracy to assassinate Governor 
William Goebel. Since the charge that 
he would set them free was made In 
the 1907 campaign from every "stump" 
In the State, Willson may have regard- 
ed his 17,000 majority as a mandate 
from the people. It did seem mean to 
the Democrats, though, for him to 
discriminate against Henry Toutsey, 
who from their point of view was the 
only one to bring forth "fruits meet 

for repentance." So Henry's turn 
came when the Democrats returned 
to power. 

McCreary Followed Path. 

Governor McCreary In his acts of 
clemency followed the custom of the 
times, unless note Is taken of an 
old-fashioned gentleman's impatience 
with a law, which sends a man 
to Jail for "totin' a pistol." If any- 
one, convicted of carrying concealed a 
deadly weapon during his term, went 
to Jail, it was his own fault. 

Governor Stanley's pardons were ac- 
corded considerable public attention at 
the time. His exercise of the power was 
distinguished by his bold contradiction 
of the opinions of the Court of Appeals 
on facts, to which he had access. In 
this regard his most noteworthy bene- 
ficiary was not the wealthy Whites- 
burg gentleman, who shot a man in 
the back as the man was leaving the 
court house after deposing in his suit 
against the slayer for alienating his 
wife's affections. 

Neither was it the member of an 
influential Irvine family, whose de- 
fense was that he fired In self-defense 
from the darkened street, where he 
was being stalked by a man in his 
night shirt in a lighted residence. It 
Is the pardon of J. S. Head, Jr., Ash- 
land banker, convicted of making false 
entries to defraud the bank, that is 
outstanding, both because it so re- 
markably presents the irreconcilable 
conclusions of the highest court and 
chief magistrate from the same state 
of facts, and because it is the case in 
which the Court laid down the rule 
that "the day has long since passed 
in which mere technical or unsub- 
stantial errors or omissions in an in- 
dictment will constitute reversible er- 

Court Held Him Guilty. 

The Court declared, affirming the 
sentence, that "the evidence fully sup- 
ports the charge made in the indict- 
ment." The Governor was equally pos- 
itive in his "reasons" for the pardon, 
that the prisoner was "a victim and 
not a culprit," and "the offense at most 
was one simply of bad judgment." 
Head's "bad judgment," according to 
the Court of Appeals, was in defraud- 


lng the bank of $3,500 and making 
false entries to cover it up, as was 
clearly established, and supported by 
ample proof of other similar acts on 
his part, showing that he was sys- 
tematically falsifying the books to 
get money for himself. 

On the other hand, Governor Stan- 
ley resisted throughout his term the 
strongest pressure for the pardon of 
George Alexander, a banker of Paris. 

Indeed, it may be said of all the 
governors that they refused more par- 
dons than they granted, many of the 
prisoners to whom they denied clem- 
necy were worse than the ones they 
set free; and they are entitled to some 
credit for moderation, at least, in that 
they did not grant one-fourth as many 
pardons as they might have. 

Governors, however, do not always 
avail themselves of criminal court rec- 
ords to check up the ex parte presen- 
tation of pardon applications, and 

not until one year ago, and in 
Franklin County, seat of govern- 
ment, was it officially proclaimed 
and set down by due process of 
court that pardons are not a per- 
sonal, but a public matter. That is 
what was done when Maurice Gal- 
vin, Republican State Committee- 
man of Covington, was indicted on 
a charge of conspiracy to procure 
the pardon of "John Doe," alias 
Frank Blair, a mysterious highway- 
man, whose family, residence and 
friends, both Mr. Galvin and the 
Governor said they knew nothing 

Mr. Galvin was acquitted by direc- 
tion of the court; the evidence was not 
sufficient to support the charge. But 
the Chief Magistrate of the Common- 
wealth of Kentucky, now and here- 
after, has been put upon notice by a 
grand jury of the people that they are 
interested parties to petitions for par- 
don as much as to criminal prosecu- 

Enter the Parole Plan. 

Abuse of the pardoning power is the 
wickedest, and, at the same time, the 
weakest kind of "practical" politics; 
and there is little excuse for pardons, 
now that a new form of probationers 
grace has developed in the prison sys- 
tem — the parole. The words "pardon" 
and "parole" have become as much 
confused in the public mind as "reas- 
on" and "excuse" in the executive vo- 


cabuIaV^ IThey art . essontiajly .the 
antitheses of each olUei . ' . '. • 

A pardon presupposes mntfeeace or 
mitigation' the paiole presume? estab- 
lished guilt. : A governor "onee pard- 
oned a man because the prisoner was 
the only one who had ever admitted 
his guilt to him. Seldom does the pa- 
role board hear a plea of innocence 
or even mitigating circumstances. 
Facts connected with the crime, that 
never were given the jury, are related 
to the board by the perpetrator in 
bald, unsoftened details. 

The Court of Appeals has distin- 
guished pardon and parole; because, of 
course, the first question that arose 
was whether the parole is an infringe- 
ment upon the pardoning power. It 
calls pardon an act of "grace," and pa- 
role a "disciplinary measure." 

The same public, which decries len- 
iency in permitting privileges for good 
conduct within the walls and granting 
paroles, is horrified at the lash. Both 
are disciplinary measures, and the 
prison management either must treat 
the prisoner as a brute and use him 
brutally, or by education, moral in- 
fluence, work and the inducements of 
reward, win the co-operation of the 
prisoner through self-discipline. 

The parole is not entirely a reward 
for good conduct inside a walled in- 
closure with armed guards on the 
walls and guards with clubs inside. 
It is not intended to minimize the se- 
verity of sentence; it is a common 
sense plan to graduate convicts back 
into civil life, and it was evolved from 
the observation of invariable prison 
experience. No one was ever known 
to die of old age in a Kentucky prison. 
The average term of servitude, con- 
sidering ttofi statutory penalty, is just 
as long under the parole system as 
it was before. Practically speaking, 
they all get out after awhile. 

Reason for the Parole. 

Convicts as a rule are not up to the 
average intellectually, neither are 
they men of initiative or resourceful- 
ness. Almost invariably, if dis- 
charged, they will go back where they 
came from. When a man returns to 
the place where he committed his 
crime, he is under a handicap that 
would test a stronger character. He 

ip despleefi^uyrt^r suspicion and likely 
noL giveu a chance to make aij honest 
•fvirig.' Crime was about the only vo- 
cation ,leZt open to' tbV ex convict, it 
was found." £io' the parole. 

The most advanced parole systems 
Include paroles from the bench, usual- 
ly in cases of youths, who have made 
one misstep and when there is a pos- 
sibility of saving them without their 
incurring the handicap of the prison 
stamp. The parole system is just as 
perfect as the ability of the authority, 
which operates it, and the latitude the 
law permits it. 

The parole is no new thing. Back 
in 1888, the Sinking Fund Commission, 
then in charge of the prisons, could 
grant paroles. A life termer was eli- 
gible in five years. He is eligible in 
eight now; but the board requires him 
to serve twelve years before It will 
consider his case. Like most laws, 
the parole act has been changed fre- 
quently, and the changes have been 
as ill-considered as the original mea- 
sure. In 1892 when a Prison Com- 
mission was created, the Court of Ap- 
peals held that the Sinking Fund 
Commission continued to be the parole 

In 1910 an indeterminate sentence 
law was enacted, and the Court of 
Appeals promptly held that it bereft 
the board of all discretion. A 
prisoner by observing the prison rules 
earned his parole at the expiration of 
his minimum sentence and the board 
had to parole him. 

Kentucky's System Unique. 
The law has been changed several 
times since, and recently the Court of 
Appeals held that "once a paroled pris- 
oner, always a paroled prisoner," un- 
til the Governor grants a pardon. A 
man may have only a month to serve 
when he is paroled; but he will con- 
tinue under control of the board as 
long as he lives unless he goes back to 
prison and stays another month or is 
pardoned. He would be subject to 
his dying day to summary arrest on a 
warrant charging him with violating 
his parole, and could be sent back to 
prison twenty years afterward to fin- 
ish that thirty days, with loss of good 
time, probably. 
This decision makes Kentucky's pa- 

role system absolutely unique, and it 
may have a profound effect in guiding 
prison authorities of the country to- 
ward their goal: the perfection of the 
indeterminate sentence. 

It is a significant observation that 
professional crooks do not like paroles. 
They prefer to spend a year or two 
longer In prison if necessary and go 
out free. Superintendent H. V. Bas- 
tin, of the Reformatory, is authority 
for this statement. He soon discov- 
ered this and it made him an advocate 
of the compulsory parole. He said too 
much of sentiment has accompanied 
the development of the system. He 
thinks no criminal ought to be turned 
loose upon the community, excepting 
under parole, until he has demonstrat- 
ed that he can live outside and not 
be a menace. The defectives, who 
comprise a large body of the criminal 
classes, he believes, should be kept in 
an institution for life. 

The Board of Charities and Correc- 
tion has introduced an Innovation, 
Before its day boards paroled prison- 
ers without seeing them. Lawyers, 
members of their families and poli- 
ticians thronged the offices of the 
old board at the Capitol. 

The paroled prisoner, like the par- 
doned man, felt under obligation to the 
influence that had procured his re- 
lease. The present board sits at the 
prison and interviews the men; its field 
force collects all the Information nec- 
essary from outside sources, and a pa- 
role clerk keeps in touch with the 
men after they go out. 

How It Operated. 

Theoretically the paroled prisoner is 
still in custody. Actually, when he is 
eligible and has demonstrated some de- 
velopment of character for industry 
and trustworthiness, as soon as the 
board has Investigated his history, fam- 
ily and the circumstances of his 
crime, procured him employment and 
acquainted itself with the environ- 
ment into which he is to go, the pris- 
oner is released under certain restric- 
tions, which include regular reports 
from him and his employer and the ob- 
servance of rules. If the board keeps 
in touch with him, the paroled prison- 
er must behave much better than the 
average good citizen does; for, even 


if he has acquired character, he yet 
has a reputation to make. 

In this way, under surveillance 
both for his own sake and that of 
the society whose laws he has flaunt- 
ed, a prisoner, it Is hoped, will be 
gradually enabled to find an honor- 
able place for himself. It is an ex- 
periment, and yet records show a 
much smaller percentage of second 
termers than there were a few years 
ago. And when it is considered that 
about one-tenth of one per cent of 
the population goes to prison, 4 or 5 
per cent of the "ticket-'o-leave" men 
violating the strict rules of their pa- 
role is not such a bad showing for 

If respect for constituted author- 
ity did not forbid, one might even 
compare the average scored by con- 
victs in keeping their parole pledges 
with the way governors keep their 
platform pardon promises. They 
stand at the opposite extremes of de- 
mocracy — these two, governor and 
convict. The one is exalted to the 
highest eminence of citizenship; the 
other degraded below its lowest level. 
But human nature runs much the 
same through all classes of men, and 
it requires moral stamina to do either. 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 8, 1922.) 

When Kentucky gets a "business 
administration" of its Government 
there is going to be a new chapter in 
the story of pardons, very different 
from the chapters by the four Gov- 
ernors of the period which Mr. Ar- 
mentrout is writing about. 

In an interesting historical recur- 
sion he traces the power to pardon, of 
"the very essence of supreme au- 
thority," to the monarchs of absolut- 
ism, of whom it was a personal pre- 
rogative. Today it is exercised by 
Kentucky's Governors as a personal 
privilege as absolute as the "power 
to pardon" ever has been in any age 
of kingcraft. The constitutional in- 
junction that the Governor give a 
reason for any pardon he may grant 


1b no qualification of his power, for. 
as Mr. Armentrout says, the "reason" 
usually is merely an "excuse." 

It is time that a Franklin County 
grand jury has declared a pardon to 
be a public, not a personal, matter; 
but one declaration by a grand jury is 
not going to rectify the abuse of the 
pardoning power in this State. That 
declaration, it should be borne in 
mind, was made concerning the no- 
torious Blair pardon, admitted by Gov- 
ernor Morrow to be indefensible and 
granted by him notwithstanding this 
pledge which he made in his cam- 

I will not abuse or misuse the 
pardoning power, nor will I pardon 
any guilty man, nor will I use this 
power for political ends. 

Governor Morrow's abuse of the 
pardoning power has been no worse 
than its abuse by some of his prede- 
cessors. In fact, so far it has not 
been as bad, though it has been any- 
thing but good. He was no doubt sin- 
cere in making the pledge here quoted. 
That he has not kept it is cumulative 
proof of the fundamental mistake in 
imposing in any one man the unre- 
stricted power of pardon. 

Nothing is to be gained by compar- 
ing the extents to which the power 
has been abused by various Chief Ex- 
ecutives. They have all abused it as 
a personal privilege, and there can 
be no assurance that they will not 
continue to abuse it as long as they 
are allowed to retain it and as long 
as Governors are men susceptible to 
the weakness of human nature and to 
the temptations of "politics." 

The pressure on a Governor to im- 
pel him to abuse the pardoning power 
la tremendous. No man should be 
subjected to it. "Two thousand con- 
victs in the prisons," notes Mr. Armen- 
trout, "and twenty times as many 
of their relatives, and thousands, who 
have done their time and want to 
vote, are scheming to bring what in- 
fluence they can, of hope or fear, to 
bear upon the Chief Magistrate of 
this Commonwealth to undo the work 
of the courts and juries. The appeal 

for clemency is presented as a personal 
matter between man and man; the 
Governor's emotions are wrought 
upon, his close political friends be- 
siege him for this small favor." 

No Governor can investigate the 
merits of all applications for pardons 
and find time to attend to his other 
duties. Most pardons are issued not 
because of the merits of the cases, 
but because of other influences by 
which a Governor, who is always a 
mortal and usually a politician, is 

The unlimited power of pardon 
should be taken away from him, in 
justice both to him to the State. That 
cannot be done except by the slow 
process of altering the organic law. 
Meanwhile, all that can be done Is to 
proceed by a new standard in the se- 
lection of a Governor. The kind of 
Governor the people of Kentucky must 
draft if they are to cure the other 
defects of their Government which 
Mr. Armentrout is exposing is the kind 
of Governor who will be least likely 
to abuse the pardoning power. 

A sounder method of treating pris- 
oners has been instituted in the parole. 
It is by the development of that meth- 
od, the choice of the right man for 
Governor and the ultimate limitation 
of the Governor's pardoning power 
that the pardon abuse can be abolished. 

The following letter referring to 
the above article was received and 
published in The Courier-Journal 
July 24, 1922: 

Kentucky Prison Reform. 

To tke Editor of The Courier-Journal. 

Before printing in pamphlet form 
your editorials and Mr. Armentrout's 
articles purporting to give the history 
of four administrations, it is suggested 
that The Courier-Journal correct some 
of its statements in regard to the 

Thousands of Kentuckians know 
that in 1912 to 1916 the Prison Com- 
mission almost revolutionized the 
prisons of Kentucky and the houses 
of reform. A real investigation will 

show that the following reforms and 
others were made during that period: 

Abolished the practice of whipping 

Established schools In the prisons. 

Changed the Frankfort Penitentiary 
to a reformatory, and went as far as 
the inherited labor contracts would 
permit in sending the worst criminals 
to the Eddyvllle Penitentiary. Urged 
Circuit Judges to co-operate in sen- 
tencing felons. 

Paid prisoners and their families 20 
per cent of their earnings. (Court of 
Appeals finally annulled thjs law.) 

Looked up cases of "forgotten" or 
friendless prisoners entitled to apply 
for parole. 

Securing employment for paroled 
men, monthly reports required from 
employes. Parole agent investigated 
cases failing to report and complaints 
of parole violations. (The Courier- 
Journal says this was never done until 
the present board took charge, or if 
so there are no records to show. If 
these records have been destroyed The 
Courier-Journal should find out who 
did it, and why.) 

Not one parole was granted during 
that four years for political reasons 
or through political influences. Every 
case was considered only upon its 

Tubercular and venereal cases were 
sequestered and given special treat- 

Commissioners visited the prisons 
and talked with applicants for parole. 

Discharged every guard or employe 
guilty of drunkenness on or off duty, 
regardless of political backing or any 
other influences. 

Stopped guards from cursing pris- 
oners or striking them except in self- 

Induced the Legislature of 1914 to 
authorize prisons to rent farms. Rent- 
ed the Mastin farm of nearly 500 acres 
at Frankfort and took option to pur- 
chase at $40,000. Also rented a farm 
at Eddyvllle, and both proved helpful 
in many ways. 

Quit buying fore-quarter beef from 
Chicago packers and bought cattle and 
hogs from Kentucky farmers, used 
prison labor for slaughtering, saved 
nearly half the enormous meat bills. 


had better meat, and kept the money 
In the State. 

Saved $7,000 the first year in coal 
bills by changing the plan of buying 
so as to get real competition. 

All food, clothing and supplies of 
every kind were bought under pub- 
lic competitive bidding, after adver- 
tising, with samples submitted. 

No officer or employe was allowed 
to engage In political activity or to 
contribute anything for election pur- 
poses. The practice had been to assess 
each officer and employe every year. 

As to the Houses of Reform at 
Greendale, near Lexington, a fine 
woman was appointed assistant sup- 
erintendent and made the most strik- 
ing changes In the institution, clean- 
ing up everywhere, beds and kitchens, 
adding to the comfort and health of 
the unfortunate children, and serving 
as a mother to them. A modern 
dairy barn was built and milk was 
substituted for coffee. 

Dependent children, not criminals, 
were being sent there, some as young 
as seven years. Tfc,e .Commission rec- 
ommended to the Legislature a bill 
prohibiting sending of any child under 
ten years of age, and requiring coun- 
ties to pay $100 per year for all chil- 
dren they sent under sixteen years 
old. This was enacted into law. 

The general public is entitled to this 
record alongside that given in The 
Courier-Journal. Investigation is In- 
vited by anyone who may doubt Its 
correctness. A CITIZEN. 

The following reply was made to 
the above by Mr. Armentrout and 
published in the Courier-Journal 
with the letter above. 

Since I made no direct reference to 
the administration of State prisons 
from 1912 to 1916, and since it would 
serve no useful purpose to check up 
the items of revolutionary policy 
ascribed by "A Citizen" to that admin- 
istration, I do not feel called upon by 
his communication to defend anything 
I may said. But "A Citizen" does 
seem, by Implication, at least, to raise 
the question whether he is to in- 
fer, from the omission of any refer- 
ence to distinguished public service 


during the period covered by the ar- 
ticles, that In all those years Ken- 
tucky had no single officer who did 
his duty. Most emphatically I can 
answer that in all three branches of 
government Kentucky from time to 
time has had in various departments 
men of character and capacity. Tto<e 
very fact that the Commonwealth dur- 
ing this period frequently has been 
served by a high-minded officer, who 
did his conscientious best, emphasizes 
the bane of a "system," which hamp- 
ers initiative and neutralizes the ef- 
forts of competent public servants. 

The "system," not individuals, how- 
ever, was the subject of review; and 
it would have been subversive of ttifi 
avowed purpose of the exposition and 
productive of nothing but accusations 
of ulterior motives to have digressed 
unendingly for comparisons among 
thousands of officeholders. Neverthe- 
less, since one administration has 
been referred to by "A Citizen," I 
shall discard the impersonal attitude 
to reply, and let those mentioned 
stand for the scores of others who may 
or may not have had their feelings 

On the Prison Commission from 1912 
to 1916, I recall, were M. P. Conley, 
of Louisa, and Representative Henry 
R. Lawrence, of Cadiz, the latter being 
the author of the Lawrence Efficiency 
Commission Law. Both men, in my 
opinion, rank high in the attributes 
which make a good public officer. Be- 
sides his executive experience, Mr. 
Lawrence has been Speaker of the 
House. No doubt, the Efficiency Bill 
was the ripe fruit of his personal 
knowledge of the system of govern- 

These two men served on the Prison 
Commission some four years before 
the State Board of Charities and Cor- 
rection was created to take over both 
the prisons and asylums. Most as- 
suredly, in singling out the Board of 
Charities and Correction as a shining 
example of what can be done in the 
way of reform in State government, 
there was attempted no comparison of 
personnel. The Department of Char- 
ities and Correction was lifted clear of 
the "system" and the board was cre- 
ated by a modern law that provides it 
with ample power and scope of djpjcre- 

tion to work out Its policies. I do mot 
hesitate to assert that the present 
board, hampered by the law formerly 
In force, could not toave made headway 
against the "system." I have no more 
hesitancy In asserting that a man with 
the vision and initiative to sponsor 
the Lawrence Efficiency Law, and his 
associate, Mr. Conley, could under 
present conditions accomplish institu- 
tional reforms, 

"A Citizen" should take this fur- 
ther observation to heart: Neither 
the Department of Charities and Cor- 
rection nor the Department of Educa- 

tion claim to have perfected perma- 
nent results — yet; they are still clear- 
ing away tb& underbrush In many 
places for the foundation. Given time 
and the chance, they are both capa- 
ble of building something of which 
Kentucky can be proud. And the 
author of the Lawrence Efficiency 
Commission Law has furnished means, 
not only for expediting their work, 
but for clearing the ground for per- 
manent reform In the entire govern- 
mental establishment. 



When the 1922 General Assembly 
enacted the Lawrence Efficiency Com- 
mission Law, it placed in the hands of 
four citizens, to be named by Governor 
Morrow, power almost to predetermine 
the type of men political parties must 
nominate for State offices and to dic- 
tate the issue of the 1923 state cam- 

If that Commission functions as 
the author of the Act anticipated, — al- 
though he had in mind only adminis- 
trative reforms — and is able to report 
within twelve months, its recommend- 
ations will have to be considered by 
party platform builders, and the issue 
may be squarely presented to the peo 
pie as between the business of gov- 
ernment and the profession of politics 

There is not an officer, state or coun- 
ty, that dare defy the inquisitorial au 
thority of the four commissioners 
They are given $25,000 and "directed to 
make a general survey of and inquire 
into all departments, commissions, and 
boards of the State Government, as 
well as all institutions supported in 
whole or in part by publio funds of 
the State, and make reports and rec- 
ommendations touching their condi- 
tions and needs and matters relat- 
ing to the curtailment of expenses and 
increased efficiency. The scope of 
its powers and duties shall extend to 
an Inquiry concerning every branch 
and arm of the State Government, that 
Is contributed to or supported in whole 

or In part by state funds or that 
performs judicial, executive, legisla- 
tive or ministerial functions." 

Authority to summons and interro- 
gate witnesses under oath, compel the 
production of books and records, and 
enforce its orders by proceedings in 
contempt is conferred as a matter ot 

Is First Complete Survey. 

This will be the first complete syste- 
matic survey of Kentucky's entire es- 
tablishment. It follows an educational 
survey, and an exhaustive overhaul- 
ing of institutional management, made 
by the Board of Charities and Correc- 
tion. Both of these departments are 
being revolutionized, and the effi- 
ciency survey itself is potentially rev- 
olutionary. It is a radical departure 
from the old time "Legislative Jun- 
ket, whereon the lawmakers took hol- 
iday from their sixty days* session and 
enjoyed the hospitality of a genial su- 
perintendent at some institution, to 
carry away the memory of a Jolly 
host and equally jolly good-fellowship. 
Such junkets cost quite as much in 
the aggregate as the survey. 

The broad scope of the mandate can 
carry the investigation into Circuit 
Courts and into every county office; 
because every one of them is an agen- 
cy for the collection or distribution of 
•tate revenues. It is in this field, It 
is believed, that the greatest saving 


can be effected, with the possibility of 
materially reducing taxation. 

Such a proposal might provoke the 
activities of another element in poli- 
tics, quite as systematic and quite as 
potent as any form of "invisible gov- 
ernment" — the local politicians. If as- 
piring statesmen sometimes have de- 
scribed the State as a great corpora- 
tion and the General Assembly as its 
Board of Directors, none of them has 
yet done Justice to its subsidiaries, the 
counties, or to the interlocking direc- 

Is Court House Government. 

Tbfi "System" links the county seat 
to the Capital, and. If Kentucky could 
be said to have a distinct type of gov- 
ernment, an observer would have to 
call it, not an "Invisible," but a Court 
House Government. The most powerful 
lobby that reaches the Capitol is made 
up of county officers. The personnel 
of the State House force is drawn 
largely from county offices; the or- 
ganization of political parties is made 
up of county leaders; and the majority 
of the legislators, representing single 
counties or contiguous groups, usual- 
ly owe their selection to the same in- 

The consequence is manifest in the 
whole fabric of legislative procedure 
and executive complacence. For in- 
stance, when the present tax law was 
enacted, foreseeing increases in reve- 
nues from a higher assessment, bank 
deposits and exposure of intangibles. 
the General Assembly cut the state 
tax rate 15 cents; but it did not touch 
the county rate, although county and 
state taxes are collected by the same 
officer at the same time on the same 

The assessment was doubled and the 
property owners in 1921 paid $11,000,- 
000 taxes more than they did in 1917 
under the old law. Paying in a lump 
sum, the people were not aware that 
(8,600,000 of the increase went to their 
respective counties and only $2,500,000 
to the State. They were not informed 
that, although the assessment was in- 
creased approximately 100 per cent, by 
reason of the reduction in the state 
rate they were paying only 63 per cent 

Forty -nine 

more state taxes, whereas they wer« 
paying to their counties 143 per cent 

No Budget Far County. 

The State presently adopted a bud- 
get system; but no budget was Im- 
posed on the counties, and the coun- 
ties increased their rates as the 
assessment increased — not alone for 
schools and roads, either. Few have 
cut their general fund rate commen- 
surate with the assessment. Yet, at 
the last session, the only law passed 
for tax relief would have reduced 
state revenues $500,000 and increased 
county revenues three times that 

State Inspectors and Examiners, 
whose old reports reveal sensational 
Irregularities, have brought about 
gradually a reasonably accurate meth- 
od of accounting between county of- 
ficers and the State in the collection 
of state revenues; but If the condi- 
tions of county school funds under 
the management of county superin- 
tendents, then part of the elected 
county official government, both secre- 
tary and treasurer of a partlsanly 
ithosen school board, with power to 
nxamine and grade applicants for 
teachers' certificates, is a fair exam- 
ple of the way county taxpayers' 
money is handled, a budget and re- 
formation of court-house methods 
might result in a telling reduction in 
local taxes. 

Until this year the budget of the 
State Department of Education, charg- 
ed with responsibility for the efficiency 
of the state school system and the dis- 
tribution of $4,000,000, the greater 
part of state taxes, was not 
sufficient to more than provide the 
department with a clerical force for 
routine work. Two inspectors, at 
$1,000 each and not enough expense 
money to pay their way about the 
State, were expected to inspect 10,000 
schools scattered over 40,000 miles of 

In the last six months the first 
real Investigation of county school 
finances has been undertaken. Four 
counties have been examined and in 
every one the schools are in debt 
beyond the constitutional limit. In 
three of them the books were so 
tangled that nothing could be made 

of them, and the procedure so Ir- 
regular that civil action has been 

While the lawmakers were discuss- 
ing ways and means of providing reve- 
nues for a state expenditure of $10,- 
000,000 the year on highways, fiscal 
courts were spending over $5,000,000 
annually on roads, to what purpose 
in most counties taxpayers are fully 
aware, although they may not know 
that their magistrates are spending 
twice as much now out of the road 
fund as they did five years ago. 

Tendency Is for State Roads. 

Just as the schools after half a cen- 
tury were developed Into a real state 
system, the tendency of road legisla- 
tion, since the automobile has become 
a factor in transportation, is toward a 
state system. 

At the same time, the principle of 
local self-government, applied to these 
civil divisions of the State, has split 
the taxpayers' money between State 
and county, the latter handling five- 
eighths of the money through fiscal 
courts, composed of magistrates, who 
represent still smaller districts, and 
usually divide the funds among them 
regardless of economy and results. 
Most of Kentucky's road funds th,us 
become the spoils of local politics. 

In the Department of Education, on 
the other hand, the State has control 
over the expenditures of local funds; 
for the school tax is a state tax and 
the County Superintendent is appoint- 
ed, and subject to the supervision of 
a state officer. 

The school reform was the first real 
inroad made on the county political 
system, and the reaction was positive. 
The county boards were made nonpar- 
tisan in 1920; the superintendents are 
now appointed; examination papers 
are required to be sent to Frankfort 
to be graded by a corps of educators, 
who see no name, but only a number 
on the papers they are grading. Many 
teachers fail, evidences of brazen 
fraud have been detected, and exami- 
nations in several counties thrown out 
on affidavits of teachers, who con- 
fessed to wholesale cheating. 

Suspicious certificates issued in an- 
other county, were sent to the State 
Department for investigation by one 

county superintendent. County poli- 
ticians came to Frankfort to see If 
they couldn't exert Influence in be- 
half of local favorites, who had fallen 
down. ! 

Local politicians of both parties, for 
the most part, used their influence the 
next year to defeat the constitutional 
amendments providing for a nonparti- 
san Department of Education and re- 
vision of the per capita distribution of 
the state school fund. 

Attack On Schools. 

The attitude of the local leaders was 
reflected in the openly expressed opin- 
ion about the Capitol, excepting in the 
Department of Education, that the new 
school law had proved a failure. The 
1922 session of the General Assembly 
brought the most aggressive group of 
representatives seen here in a decade, 
bent on having an elective county su- 
perintendent, the examination papers 
graded at the courthouse, the compul- 
sory attendance law repealed, and the 
sub-district trustee restored with the 
privilege of buying all the supplies for 
his school-house without competitive 

The bills passed the House. Repre- 
sentatives hurried to the Senate 
chamber to advise colleagues there 
that they had voted for the bills under 
compulsion of threats to defeat every 
measure in which they were interest- 
ed, and to beg the Senators to defeat 
the reactionary school bills. For weeks 
It was feared that, despite the united 
efforts of the Kentucky Educational 
Association, heads of all the institu- 
tions of higher education, Catholic and 
Protestant, farmers' and women's or- 
ganizations, the school system would 
be thrown back into the ruck of coun- 
ty political patronage. 

The sciiiool system was saved by 
the Senate, and the Department of 
Education was equipped with a budget 
for a professional staff; but all other 
county reform measures were lost. 

A bill was passed, and vetoed, in- 
creasing state fees to County Clerks. 

Although the Constitution limits 
all officers in Kentucky, excepting 
the Governor, to $5,000 annually, it 
is a well-known fact that many Sher- 
iffs and some County Clerks draw, 
in excess of this sum estimated to 
aggregate a quarter of a million 


dollars, that should go to the State. 
Sheriffs' commissions from tax col- 
lections have more than doubled in 
the last five years. Yet a bill re- 
quiring officers of other counties to 
account for their fees, just as those 
in Jefferson County do, died in the 

The office of Oil Inspector, county 
judges' patronage, was abolished; but 
the same bill re-created the same of- 
fice under the title Oil Tester and 

When the Prohibition Enforcement 
Act was amended so as to promote 
prompt trials and convictions, a pro- 
vision had to be inserted allowing 
Commonwealth's Attorneys the same 
50 per cent commissions on fines and 
forfeitures in inferior courts that they 
receive in the Circuit Court; and, as 
usual, efforts to abolish this office and 
confer the duties on the County At- 
torneys were abortive, as have been 
previous attempts to dispense with 
Jailers and put the Sheriffs in charge 
of prisoners. 

It Is Up To People. 

Here is a selfish interest to be reck- 
oned with; yet readjustment of State 
activities to promote efficiency and 
economy will have to extend to dis- 
tricts and counties. The commission 
can only report and advise; party 
platforms may promise, and then it Is 
up to the ultimate source of all po- 
litical power — the people. 

They alone can make reform pos- 
sible. The one and only overt move 
against corrupt government is, like 
most other reforms, in the Statutes, 
under the style of the Anti-Lobby Act 
of 1916. It requires all legislative 
lobbyists to register in a book kept 
by the Attorney General. 

Its pages contain specimens of the 
penmanship of every legitimate advo- 
cate or opponent of pending legisla- 
tion at the last four sessions; but they 
are still unsullied by the signature of 
any representative of that "sinister," 
"insidious," "corrupt," anonym — the 
"Invisible Government," the "Sys- 
tem" — which lends itself so admirably 
to the uses of campaign rhetoric. They 
don't have to sign. Incorruptible leg- 
islators are not approached by them; 
and the corrupt ones do not tell. 

In Frankfort it is regarded as self- 


evident that no man was ever corrupt- 
ed by coming to the Legislature. There 
Is a settled conviction that if a man is 
corrupt In the office, he was corrupt 
before he came. Too many men are 
known, who come here honest, who 
stay honest and go home honest, to 
believe otherwise. While people in 
other communities are wondering 
what malign influence in the Capital 
City undermines the morals of legis- 
lators, people of Frankfort wonder 
whether some of the legislators are 
truly representative of their con- 

Being on the ground, they hold to 
the ancient formula of representative 
government: that if the people elect 
honest legislators, they will have hon- 
est laws. 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 10, 1922.) 

The "efficiency commission" provid- 
ed by the last session of the General 
Assembly of course cannot effect ef- 
ficiency in the State Government. It 
can only point the way to future ef- 
ficiency by disclosing present inef- 
ficiency. The commission's inquisi- 
torial power respecting official ma- 
chinery is unlimited. It has no other 
power. Its labors will be worthless 
unless its findings shall be enforced by 
a Legislature driven by an informed 
and aroused public sentiment and by 
a Governor faithfully representative 
of that sentiment. 

As Mr. Armentrout says, it is "po- 
tentially revolutionary." But it will 
be actually revolutionary only if its 
recommendations be revolutionary and 
if their adoption be compelled. The 
task of the commission will be easy 
in comparison with the task of those 
who may undertake to accomplish any 
revolution it may advise. 

The scope of the commission's in- 
quiry including the Circuit Courts and 
all county offices, a field in which it is 
believed the greatest saving may be 
made, it is well to bear in mind that 

it is also a field in which to work a 
revolution is most difficult. it Id 
from the counties that the local poli- 
ticians not only rule their own dis- 
tricts, but largely rule the State. 

Mr. Armentrout happily calls this 
"Court House Government." The "Sys- 
tem," he says, "links the county seat 
to the capital, and, if Kentucky could 
be said to have a distinct type of gov- 
ernment, an observer would have to 
call it, not an 'Invisible,' but a Court 
House Government. The most power- 
ful lobby that reaches the Capitol is 
made up of county officers. The per- 
sonnel of the State House force is 
drawn largely from county offices; the 
organization of political parties is 
made up of county leaders; and the 
majority of the legislators, represent- 
ing single counties or contiguous 
groups, usually owe their selection to 
the same influence. The consequence 
Is manifest in the whole fabric of legis- 
lative procedure and executive com- 

Some of these consequences are 
strongly significant. Thus while 
property owners paid in 1921, $11,000,- 
000 more taxes than they paid In 1917, 
only $2,500,000 of the increase went 
to the State, $8,500,000 going to the 
counties. Because of the increased 
assessment and the decreased tax 
rate they paid only 63 per cent more 
State taxes; yet they paid 143 per cent 
more county taxes. While the State 
now has a budget system and the 
counties have not, the counties in- 
creasing their rates as assessments 
increase and few cutting their general 
fund rate in proportion to Increased 
assessments, yet at the last session of 
the Legislature "the only law pased 
for tax relief would have reduced 
State revenues $500,000 and increased 
county revenues three times that 

The schools are no longer under 
"Court House Government." Recent- 
ly the first Investigation of school 
finances under that government has 
been undertaken, with the result that 
"four counties have been examined 
and in every one the schools are in 
debt beyond the constitutional limit. 
In three of them the books were so 
tangled that nothing could be made 
of them, and the procedure so irregu- 
lar that civil action has been recom- 

How tenaciously the local politicians 
of Court House Government clung 
to the schools is attested by the fight 
they made to defeat the Constitution- 
al Amendment for taking the schools 
out of politics; their concerted cam- 
paign of defamation of the new school 
li w. and their all but successful siege 
of the Legislature last winter for the 
restoration of the old system. 

Court House Government has been 
no more successful In providing good 
roads than it was in providing good 
schools. And li has been even more 
wasteful. Millions and millions of 
dollars have been squandered by fis- 
cal courts, as the logrolling magis- 
trates agreed to divide the funds. 
Even Jefferson County, with all the 
money it has spent on roads, had 
little to show for It until It abolished 
the fiscal court system. 

These are but a few of the fields 
in which the Lawrence commission 
will find rich material for investiga- 
tion. But the people of Kentucky, 
who alone can enforce needed reforms 
in their government, should take due 
notice that unless they awaken to the 
necessity of exercising their full 
authority some of these reforms are 
going to be well nigh impossible. For 
Mr. Armentrout is right in Intimat- 
ing that, powerful as "Invisible Gov- 
ernment" is, the local politicians of 
"Court House Government" are even 
more powerful. 


logued. Much of the State's unwritten 
history is to be gathered from those 
volumes, and probably there are gaps 
that should be filled before it is too 
late; but only a trained librarian can 
tell what they are. 

On the opposite side of the Capitol, 
on the same floor, is the Kentucky 
Library Commission, in charge of 
trained librarians, who could cata- 
logue and classify the collection, make 
the books available for reference and 
put many of them in circulation 
through the traveling libraries it sends 
out. These books have no relationship 
to the law library whatever, and there 
never has been a trained librarian in 
that department. The loss by such 
incongruous arrangement of these de- 
partments is more apparent, but no 
more real, than exists in the organiza- 
tion of many others. 

Perhaps the real handicap resulting 
from a lack of proper articulation 
among State departments is best dem- 
onstrated by showing what can be 
done when the handicap is removed. 
Kentucky has one example of this in 
the only department that has been 
freed from politics — the Department 
of Charities and Correction, created by 
Act of 1920. 

Real Efficiency Here. 

The Act creating it, provided that 
the board may command the assist- 
ance of any other department. In a 
health survey of institutions housing 
6,000 people, and in the eradication of 
veneral diseases and trachoma, and 
the isolation of tubercular inmates, 
the board called for and was accorded 
the complete co-operation of the State 
Board of Health. 

The University is the board's con- 
stant aid. A University senior in do- 
mestic science revised the diet of all 
the Institutions and wrote her grad- 
uating thesis on this work, which will 
be checked up by the University this 
summer. It has resulted in benefit 
not only to the State's wards, but to 
the State's finances. No fruit trees 
are planted and no agricultural enter- 
prise is undertaken without the ad- 
vice of the experts at the College of 
Agriculture. The dairy herds are in- 
spected by the Livestock Sanitary 

force and statistics of dairy produc 
tion are regularly submitted to the 

This summer Prof. Carroll of the 
College of Engineers, with a corps of 
students, surveyed the farm adjoining 
the Institute for Feeble Minded to 
properly locate new houses for expan- 
sion of the plant. Supervision of the 
educational work at the Houses of Re- 
form, now converted into a military 
institute, and the prisons has been 
turned over to the Department of Edu- 
cation. The Fire Marshal's force has 
surveyed the institutions under the 
board, at its request, and made recom- 
mendations for fire protection and the 
correction of hazards. 

A Look Into Salaries. 

The purpose of the provision in the 
law was to utilize services the State 
can furnish itself, and its observance 
has resulted in the saving of thou- 
sands of dollars, as well as the avoid- 
ance of errors that might have been 
made through lack of expert direction. 

The Efficiency Commission will have 
an opportunity to look into salaries. 
Kentucky's payroll has become a bit 
uneven, to say the least. The Consti- 
tution limits salaries to $5,000 — all 
but the Governor's. Even cities are 
beginning to be hampered by it. Louis- 
ville has lost superintendents of pub- 
lic schools and smaller places are 
crowding that salary to fill the posi- 
tion. The State Superintendent, who 
is responsible for the distribution of 
$4,000,000 of taxes and the conduct 
of 10,000 schools; the president of the 
University, the head of the Highway 
Department, who lets and supervises 
contracts, involving millions; the 
heads of the asylums, supposed to be 
highly trained specialists in mental 
diseases as well as competent institu- 
tional managers — all must be selected 
from men within the range of $5,000 
the year. 

On the other hand it is only a guess 
what twenty or more Sheriffs draw for 
their services. This much is known; 
the Sheriff of Fayette County received 
$13,000 for collecting State taxes and 
nearly twice as much for collecting 
county taxes, besides the assorted 
kinds of fees a Sheriff draws. The 
Court of Appeals says the Constitu- 


tlonal limitation Is self-operative and 
excess fees may be recovered by State 
and county; but there is no statutory 
limitation on the number of deputies 
a Sheriff may have, excepting in Jef- 

Kentucky has $347,000 worth of 
County Tax Commissioners. Their 
limit is $4,000 a year, and twenty-four 
of them get it. Forty commissioners 
receive $3,000 or over, forty-flve re- 
ceive $2,800, the average for the State, 
and thirty-five receive less than $1,500. 
They are paid fees of 5 cents on the 
$100 for the first $1,000,000 of the as- 
sessment and 2 cents on each additional 
$1,000,000. It may have been arranged 
that way as an incentive for them to 
make a full assessment. A $4,000 man 
probably would, but in the larger 
counties they reach the salary limit 
without exertion. 

In some state offices efficiency 
might be promoted by increasing 
salaries and reducing the force. 

Some Guides To Reform. 

A regrouping of executive depart- 
ments, a county budget, a uniform ac- 
counting system for State and county, 
and an operating audit would go a 
long way toward heightening the visi- 
bility of the "System." When the 
State Board of Charities and Correc- 
tion standardized specifications for 
supplies, so that real competition was 
induced, it offended some people 
mightily, and then, when it canceled 
all outstanding fire insurance and had 
it underwritten so that every agency 
in the State shared pro rata in the 
commissions, to the board's surprise, 
certain Democrats and certain Re- 
publicans, in perfect liaison, were dis- 
covered trying to persuade some of 
the big companies to stay out. The 
effect of school reform is seen in teach- 
ers' examination scandals, exposure of 
a practice that was "invisible" be- 

These experiences are encouraging 
guides to reform; but when the ma- 
chinery of government is readjusted, 
the Incumbent of the executive chair 
will have to keep it in order and su- 
perintend its operation. A good tax 
law can't equalize assessments, a good 
road law can't build highways, a good 


insurance law can't remove hazards 
and reduce fire losses and premiums, 
a good school law can't teach school, 
a Geological Survey can't map the 
State without money, and, unfortu- 
nately in spite of Arbor Day cele- 
brations, the woodman hasn't spared 
the tree, principally because he uses 
board feet instead of poetic feet in 
his measurements. 

A little more than a quarter of a 
century ago, when "statistics" was 
added to the title of the Commis- 
sioner of Agriculture, a newly-elected 
Commissioner who, at least, was in- 
quisitive, sent out a questionnaire 
and found that a fifth of Kentucky's 
original forest area, outside the Blue- 
grass, was standing. Industry was 
humming everywhere, the responses 
disclosed; sawmills were multiplying 
in mountains, Pennyrile and Pur- 
chase. Even then a warning was 
sounded against the devastation. In 
1912 a Department of Forestry was 
established; in 1922 it was aban- 
doned. No one, however, seemed to 
consider the subject in connection 
with agricultural education or re- 
garded trees as a crop. The woodlet, 
a most profitable acreage, yielding 
an annual revenue, if planted with 
the right kind of trees, has prac- 
tically disappeared; cut-over knob 
lands, victims of the plow, are eroded 
and barren, or turned over to razor- 
back hogs. Arbor Day is a beautiful 
observance for prairie and plain, 
where shade is needed; but reforest- 
ation on an economic scale will come 
only in response to a demonstration 
that it pays. 

Are Related To Taxes. 

These economic activities of the 
State bear a closer relationship to the 
question of taxation and debt than Is 
generally recognized. There are cer- 
tain expenses that the State must 
meet, and the state tax rate, which is 
the determining factor of the indi- 
vidual tax, can not be reduced sub- 
stantially until there is more wealth 
to be assessed. 

A geological survey is the prelimin- 
ary essential to the industrial upbuild- 
ing of a State like Kentucky, so won- 
derfully endowed with natural wealth. 
The gold of California, which caused 
the picturesque rush of "Forty-niners" 

was not more precious th^,n what the 
diversified structure of Kentucky con- 
tains. With hammer and transit, in- 
stead of flint lock rifles, explorers are 
still discovering Kentucky, whose geo- 
graphy and much of its accurate his- 
tory, even, remain to be written. 

A few years ago a movement was 
set on foot to convert Mammoth 
Cave and its environs into a National 
Park. Kentucky would have been 
greatly embarrassed, if the Depart- 
ment of the Interior had seriously con- 
sidered the project, and called for base 
maps, as it certainly would. The Sur- 
vey has completed the map of that 
quadrangle since and one of the Capi- 
tal's surroundings. 

As a result of war experiences in 
procuring fluorspar for steel mills and 
laboratories, the Government and steel 
men have just completed an investi- 
gation covering the whole country, and 
locate the ultimate fluorspar reserve 
in Crittenden and Livingston Counties. 
The State and Federal Survey have 
completed mapping part of that sec- 
tion. In the adjoining counties of 
Illinois, long since mapped, the fluor- 
spar industry is practically fully de- 
veloped, far in advance of the Ken- 
tucky field. 

A Concrete Instance. 

A bplt century will be required to 
complete the geological survey of Ken- 
tucky at the present rate of progress, 
and within the half century past — it 
was before Bradley or Beckham — a 
Governor of Kentucky told the legis- 
lators that it would be more profitable 
to abandon the geological survey and 
advertise Kentucky's resources so as 
to attract immigration. Since that 
historic remark and within a few 
years marbles, asphalt, glass sands, 
clays, gas, oil, iron ore, fluorspar and 
coal have been discovered, that weren't 
known among the resources of Ken- 
tucky, which were to be advertised. 

More recently still, investigators 
have come here to inquire of the Sur- 
vey about rock asphalt deposits, which 
underlie a dozen unmapped counties. 
Only one company is operating in the 
State, and the material is hauled 
hundreds of miles for building roads in 
another county, which, has deposits of 

its own. A State rock asphalt prop- 
erty, it has been suggested, might help 
to solve both the prison labor and high- 
way problems. 

The 1922 General Assembly was in- 
formed by the Governor of Kentucky 

Kentucky has great potential 
wealth in its undeveloped, unmapped 
natural resources. Marbles, road 
building material and other mineral 
wealth are known to exist in the 
State; but their extent, commercial 
possibilities, access to transporta- 
tion, etc., have not been correctly 
and scientifically ascertained. I, 
therefore, recommend that earnest 
consideration be given the possibil- 
ities of geological exploration, re- 
search, mapping, etc., in order that 
full information may be available 
to those interested, and that the nat- 
ural wealth of Kentucky shall be 
translated into the actual wealth of 
the State. 

The General Assembly accepted the 
Governor's suggestion and appropriat- 
ed money for mapping the asphalt ter- 
ritory — and the bill was vetoed. 

Two years before the General As- 
sembly was informed that "the oil and 
gas industry is rapidly assuming com- 
manding proportions and with proper 
encouragement and protecting legisla- 
tion this industry should soon be a 
source of great wealth to the people 
of the State." Of course, common ex- 
perience has proven it to be a source of 
the loss of unreckoned millions to the 
people of Kentucky; because the Geo- 
logical Survey did not have the gas 
and oil structures located and defined, 
and investors resorted to the infinitely 
more expensive method of defining 
the oil and gas fields with a veritable 
ring of dry holes. 

Conservation Is Issue. 

Conservation of resources received 
its first consideration in Kentucky 
at the 1922 session in its application 
to the natural gas industry, and the 
most dramatic incident in the after- 
math of that session was the debate 
between Judge Ed. C. O'Rear and 
Donald McDonald before Governor 
Morrow on the carbon black bill. The 
situation contained its element of 
comedy, too, for it was discovered 
that 300 men had signed two petitions, 
one for and one against the bill. 

This measure, then before the Gov- 


ernor for approval or veto, limited 
tbe carbon black plants to their pres- 
ent locations, ostensibly to bold the 
gas reserve (or the use of domestic 
consumers. Necessarily the Louisville 
Gas & Electric Company and the car- 
bon black manufacturers were on op- 
posing sides. Judge O'Rear insisted 
that the owner of gas in the ground 
has the absolute right to dispose of 
his own property as he chooses. He 
charged that the measure, backed 
by the Louisville Gas & Electric Com- 
pany, was socialistic. It was an odd 
conceit, accusing the great Byllesby 
Syndicate of fostering socialism. It 
was contended, on the other hand, 
that this conservation measure was 
no more than the extension of a prin- 
ciple, which the learned advocate of- 
ten had himself as Chief Justice en- 
forced: that when natural gas comes 
into possession of a public service con- 
cern like the Louisville Gas & Elec- 
tric Company, bought and paid for 
with its own money, the gas must be 
held and used subject to the superior 
rights of the consuming public. This 
shows that Frankfort, no less than 
Washington or Genoa, has problems of 
statecraft, and they come close home 
to the Individual citizen. 

Governor Morrow candidly an- 
nounced his opinion that the owner 
of gas land, who had only a small 
rental and an eighth of the production, 
was little concerned. He considered 
it a controversy between two rival in- 
dustries, and for his part, he was in- 
terested in the consumer. Afterwards 
he vetoed the bill, which caused sur- 
prise, because the only excuse for its 
enactment was that it was for the 
benefit of the consumer. 

A Change of Viewpoint. 

Issues of statecraft, concerned with 
the business of government and di- 
rectly affecting private enterprise, are 
changing rapidly. In every campaign 
from 1907 on "trusts" have been fea- 
tured. A stringent Anti-Trust Law 
was enacted in Kentucky. Then it was 
amended to exempt farmers and la- 
borers' organization, and the United 
States Supreme Court held it dis- 
criminatory and unconstitutional. It 
was a dead letter In 1915 and both 


parties promised to repair the breach 
for the protection of the farmers. Gov. 
A. O. Stanley, then a candidate, and 
probably Is no wise exaggerating the 
prevailing sentiment, declared: 

Today the State stands naked and 
defenseless, a prey to every crooked 
combination and every form of cor- 
porate iniquity, a snug harbor for 
every commercial pirate seeking 
refuge from the wise legislation and 
righteous wrath of forty-seven sister 
States. The fact that this yawning 
chasm is left in the only legal de- 
fense yet provided has caused an ap- 
prehension little short of consterna- 
tion among thoughtful and discern- 
ing men. 

Seven years are not long, yet mark 
the change! The General Assembly 
of 1922, without debate, repealed the 
1916 Anti-Trust Law with an emer- 
gency clause, making the repeal Im- 
mediately operative — and for the bene- 
fit of the farmers, who have found 
a way of meeting the market on an 
equal footing. This Is a day of co- 

Industrial co-operation is a factor 
with which politicians will have to 
reckon In the next State campaign. 
The "blocs" at Washington reflect the 
will of organized Industries, which had 
their counterpart m organized farm- 
ers, women and educators at Frank- 
fort. And they were effective at the 
1922 General Assembly. Their's may 
not have been "the voice of the peo- 
ple;" but they were the united voices 
of several thousand people — about its 
nearest approach that had ever pene- 
trated to the halls of legislation — 
and they made the vocal efforts of the 
demagogue sound pitifully strained and 

The Kentucky Situation. 

Organized citizens are studying and 
learning. Repeated charges of "waste" 
and "extravagance" in campaign after 
campaign have but served to intensify 
the popular feeling that taxes are 
"burdensome." Fourteen years and 
four political campaigns haven't 
ameliorated the "burden." Taxes 
have Increased, and, at least, $50,000,- 
000 in the meantime must have been 
wasted on schools, roads and public 
institutions. And the rural schools 
have been proved to be inefficient, the 
highway system has not been built. 

State institutions are down at heel and 
colleges are begging for money. 

Yet the situation Is anomolous. Com- 
parisons 8h,ow that Kentucky Is one of 
the most cheaply operated States 
in the Union. It has been so 
meagerly and wastefully financed 
that it has neglected the very 
means by which wealth is increased 
and the cost of government distrib- 
uted. The conclusion Is Irresistible 
that taxation Is burdensome in Ken- 
tucky, because assessments are not 
equalized and, the taxpayers don't re- 
ceive an adequate return for their 
money. A comparison will show this, 
too; and not a comparison with great 
industrial Commonwealths. 

Total ad valorem taxes paid to the 
State of Kentucky for all purposes 
are less than Wisconsin, a State of 
worn-out wheat land a few years 
ago, spends annually on its uni- 
versity. But the University of 
Wisconsin has been put on a profit- 
paying basis; it has taught the farm- 
ers standardization of production and 
co-operative marketing and made them 
rich. They may be in a bit of a fog 
about the "origin of species," but 
they have it clear in their minds that 
the origin of that particular variety 
of "Big Baked Potato," which shares 
Northern Pacific folder space on 
terms of equality with the Pacific 
Ocean and the Custer Battlefield, 
was the University's Experiment 

Wisconsin has no attractions for 
greed or pleasure comparable to Ken- 
tucky's. In her example is hope for 
the future, If someone can be found 
who will "take care that the laws be 
faithfully executed." 

But, looking back over the last four- 
teen years of Kentucky history, the 
seeker can find In it nothing different 
from what Thomas Carlyle complained 
of in political histories a century 

"How men are taxed and kept 


(Courier-Journal Editorial, 
July 11, 1922.) 

Mr. Armentrout today ends his serial 

survey of Kentucky's governmental 

conditions by gathering up divers odds 

and ends of misdirected administra- 

tion, which further strengthen the 
impressively strong case he has made 
out against the conduct of the State's 

He touches briefly but lllumlnative- 
ly on the need of a readjustment of 
departmental activities, some of them 
overlapping and many of them "bump- 
ing." Here he points to a field for 
profitable Investigation by the new 
Efficiency Commission. 

That body will find much to engage 
Its attention also In salaries and fees, 
now paid under an antiquated sys- 
tem that obstructs both efficiency and 
economy in the public service. 

County budgets, a uniform State 
and county accounting system and an 
operating audit are requirements sug- 
gested by the deficiencies of the pres- 
ent slipshod methods of misdoing pub- 
lic business. 

The laggard geological survey and 
the criminal neglect of forestry are 
depressing proofs that Kentucky, 
which should be in the front of the 
march of Twentieth Century progress, 
still has one foot in the grave of the 
last century. Potentially one of the 
richest States of the Union In natural 
resources, its riches are unavailable 
to itself and unknown to the world 
because of the lack of a comprehen- 
sive geological survey; while original- 
ly one of the richest States in for- 
ests, it is steadily approaching forest 

What may be done by putting the 
business of Kentucky on a business 
basis is well indicated by what has 
been done by the Department of Char- 
ities and Corrections, the only depart- 
ment of Kentucky's business that has 
been taken out of politics. Handi- 
capped as the Board of Charities and 
Corrections has been by Inadequacy of 
funds, it has worked wonders, not only 
for the institutions under Its care, but 
as auguries of what may be expected 
In other departments of the Govern- 
ment when they too are taken out of 


Mr. Armentrout has now laid before 
the people of Kentucky an exhaustive 
review of the conduct of their Govern- 
ment during the last fourteen years. 
While they have realized its short- 
comings in a general way, they have 
not understood the facts in detail 
as Mr. Armentrout laboriously has 
dug them out and intelligently has 
analyzed them. Those facts are facts, 
not merely charges bandied by par- 
tisans of one political party and an- 
other. They are not to be refuted. 
So far as The Courier-Journal has 
seen, they have nowhere been denied 
or questioned. In beginning their pub- 
lication this newspaper invited the 
correction of any "Mstakes thac might 
be detected. That invitation still 

Now that they have the facts, it is 
for the people to say what they ore 
going to do about them. The least 
that they can do is to study the facts 
with open minds. Doing less, they 
will be estopped in future from com- 
plaining of bad government. Studying 
the facta will convince them of the 
necessity of applying a heroic remedy, 
if bad government is to be replaced 
by good. But nothing will come of 
that conviction unless it be followed 
by the further conviction that the 
remedy must be applied by the people 

The remedy, it will be agreed, is a 
business administration of the busi- 
ness of government. As Mr. Armen- 
trout reminds us, far and away the 
biggest business in Kentucky is Ken- 
tucky's business of government, and 
the Governor is, or should be, the head 
of that business. "The Governor of 
Kentucky has the biggest job in the 
State; not only because 'the office is 
the highest honor within the gift of 
the people' and the incumbent is the 
current outstanding candidate of his 
party for the United States Senate, 
but also because the State itself, of 
which he is the head, measured by 
every scale, Is the biggest thing with- 
in its own boundaries, and his posi- 
tion is vested with power and respon- 
sibility exceeding any oth'er in civic 
or industrial life." 


There is no exaggeration In that, 
though its truth is not properly ap- 
preciated. The Governor should be a 
big man to run the biggest business in 
the State. One reason why he does 
not run It satisfactorily is readily sug- 
gested by the reference in the fore- 
going quotation to the United States 
Senate. The business which has first 
call on the talents of the average Gov- 
ernor is the business of politics rather 
than the business of the State. That 
will continue to be the case until the 
people take the making of Governors 
into their own hands. They must 
make the next Governor of Kentucky, 
or the "Lobby," "Invisible Govern- 
ment," "Court House Government," 
will make him. No man now can lift 
himself into the Governor's chair sole- 
ly by his bootstraps. Somebody has 
got to put him there. If the people 
don't do it, somebody else will. 

There is a paragraph in Mr. Arm- 

entrout's concluding article which is 

worth rereading in this connection: 

The "blocs" at Washington reflect 
the will of organized industries, 
which had their counterpart in or- 
ganized farmers, women and educa- 
tors at Frankfort. And they were 
effective at the 1922 General As- 
sembly. Theirs may not have been 
"the voice of the people;" but they 
were the united voices of several 
thousand people — about its nearest 
approach that had ever penetrated 
to the halls of legislation — and they 
made the vocal efforts of the demo- 
gogue sound pitifully strained and 

What is needed in Kentucky — what 
is imperative if we are to have better 
government than that which Mr. Arm- 
entrout has described — Is a "people's 
bloc;" not class blocs, but a bloc of 
the people. When that gets under 
way no other "bloc," no other "gov- 
ernment," invisible or aggressively 
aboveboard, will be able to with- 
stand it. 

If the people of Kentucky want good 
government they must "go get It." 
And the first step they must take to 
get it is to draft in each political 
party the right man for Governor. 
That done, they should draft the right 
men for a Legislature that will co- 

operate with the Governor for busi- 
ness Instead of for politics. 

"Draft" is the word, in both in- 
stances. Let that be borne in mind. 
No more now than in the days of 
Josh Billings do cows back up to be 


(The Times Editorial, July 5, 1922.) 

Modern State government calls for 
large expenditures. Kentucky could 
not be served by the pittances which 
formerly made up the revenues of the 
Commonwealth. The State debt and 
the State's obligations, while large, are 
not alarming, considering the re- 
sources of Kentucky. But Kentucky 
should be receiving something in re- 
turn for tax payments and the debt 
should represent expenditures worth 
the money. 

These conclusions naturally come 
from reading the study of Kentucky's 
business status by Mr. Armentrout, 
Frankfort correspondent of The 
Courier-Journal. The people of Ken- 
tucky are willing to pay taxes, but 
they want something for their outlay, 
and they demand, too, that the bur- 
den be distributed fairly. 

The celebration of Independence Day 
gave many thousands of Kentuckians 
an object lesson in what is being done 
with the road funds which are sup- 
posed to help to construct and main- 
tain highways throughout the State. 
As far as Louisville is concerned, the 
lesson showed that the principal places 
of Interest to holiday makers were in- 
accessible, excepting that the Blue- 
grass region could be reached by way 
of the Shelbyville Road which is nar- 
row and, in places, perilous. To go to 
Mammoth Cave is a task for the ad- 
venturer; to reach Lincoln Farm is to 
overcome difficulties which deter all 
but the most daring. The evidence i~ 
that the road taxes are not spent to 
the best advantage. 

Those who take an interest in the 
penal institutions should visit them. 
These places where the public charges 
are kept are worth studying as an- 
tiques. But they fail to reflect the 
expenditures of large sums taken by 

the tax gatherers. They are a phy 
sical denial of the truth in political 
promises to give to Kentucky institu- 
tions the modern improvements and 
facilities worthy of a great State. 

In today's Installment of the Armen- 
trout series is an enlightening sum- 
mary of tax assessments as they ap- 
ply to land and franchises. The cor- 
porate interests of the State have been 
favored, while the farmers and other 
realty holders have had to pay 
through the nose. 

There has been a cry for a reform 
in the tax law, but careful perusal 
of the law shows that if the terms were 
carried out they would meet all re- 
quirements of fairness. Certainly there 
is no commandment in the present 
law that coal properties be pampered, 
or that the railroads and telephones 
should be favored by reductions in 
assessments when the State board is 
impelled to demand that county boards 
force up the valuations of overtaxed 
rural holdings. The fault is not in 
the law, but in its application. The 
law cannot enforce itself. With good 
roads, modern institutions, good 
schools, with government so fairly con- 
ducted that outside capital would be 
drawn to Kentucky, this State could 
meet all tax requirements and not feel 
unduly burdened. Prosperity would 
cover the Commonwealth and there 
would be pride In meeting the govern- 
mental expenses. Improved business 
would offset the tax requirements. 

But Kentucky is getting deeper into 
debt, the roads are getting worse, 
there is no assurance that the schools 
will Improve, and there Is no real 
promise that the tax burdens will be 
more equitably Imposed. That is, un- 
less the people of Kentucky get some 
iron into their souls and demand an 
actual change in the transaction of 
the business of government. 


(The Times Editorial, July 11, 1922.) 

In today's Issue of The Courier- 
Journal its State Capital correspond- 
ent, Mr. Armentrout, completed a 
series of articles which he described 
as relating to the government of, 


Kentucky, and which perforce re- 
lated to the mis-government of Ken- 
tucky. For it is a lamentable fact 
that efficient State government, rare 
anywhere in the United States, has 
been particularly rare in this one. 
The Courier-Journal announces that 
the articles are to be gathered into 
a book together with daily editorials 
which have commented on them. If 
the opportunity for conning this 
breviary of State government is ac- 
cepted by the citizens who should 
accept it between now and the day 
of the choosing of the next Gov- 
ernor, there should be real progress 
in defining what the people really 
expect and want of an administra- 

On this point The Times finds it 
necessary to call attention to a view- 
point peculiar to politicians which 
often manages to sway the public 
toward confining its choice to a 
group of men put up by the poli- 
ticians themselves. In the daily in- 
troduction to the Armentrout articles 
The Courier-Journal carefully stated 
that their purpose was to "acquaint 
the voters with the importance and 
responsibilities of the office of Gov- 
ernor of Kentucky and the char- 
acter of man the position demands." 
The newspaper added that the series 
was "not published to promote or 
to thwart" the candidacy or honor- 
able ambition of anyone to be Gov- 
ernor. The series sprang from a 
sincere desire on the part of the 
publisher of these two newspapers 
to bring about efficiency in State 
administration and improvement in 
the condition of the people. It was 
consistent with previous editorials 
declaring that the right kind of man 
for Governor may have to be drafted. 
It was consistent with the purposes 
which have resulted in the success- 
ful establishment of the Burley 
Growers Co-operative and are pro- 
moting now the establishment of 
the Dark Tobacco Growers Co- 

The reaction and strategy of pol- 
iticians against these purposes and ex- 
pressions have been typical. Unwill- 
ing to aid in any movements which 


would take the government out of the 
hands of the professionals, they have 
endeavored to make it appear that all 
public activities on the part of the pub- 
lisher of these newspapers have been 
designed to obtain for hjm the office 
of Governor. An article has been pre- 
pared in which imagination vies with 
the politicians' typical distrust of all 
honest motives to produce a false docu- 
ment. This article purports to reveal 
a plot whereby Judge Bingham, vow- 
ing and professing a settled determi- 
nation not to hold public office, is nom- 
inated in the name of the tobacco grow- 
ers in a dead-locked convention, and, 
after hesitation, accepts the nomina- 
tion. The fact that Judge Bingham 
has repeatedly given his word to the 
people of ttve State that there is no 
public office which under any condi- 
tions he would accept is not accepted 
by the politicians because they do 
not understand how any man in pub- 
lic life can find office repugnant to 
him. The fact, also, that this prop- 
aganda is being used by selfish busi- 
ness interests adversely to the west- 
ern co-operative movement is a mat- 
ter of indifference to them in their ef- 
fort to confine tti& choice of a Gov- 
ernor to men of their own stamp. 

The Times is able, without fear of 
the possibility of any contradictory 
circumstances, to give its bond to the 
people of Kentucky that this inspired 
article with its rigmarole and its "plot" 
will never in any particular prove 
prophetic. Judge Bingham will not 
only not accept nomination or appoint- 
ment to any public office, but he will 
not allow his name to be considered. 
He will repudiate, if occasion demands 
it, any use of his name. He will not 
accept the nomination if it is unani- 
mously tendered, and he will not yield 
to any pressure which may be brought 
in this direction. As a newspaper 
publisher he holds to the ideal that 
office is not for him because he can 
accomplish more for the good of the 
State by asking and accepting nothing 
for himself. As an individual with 
work to do in the world, the limits 
of public office are to him distasteful. 
He will remain a worker in the ranks, 
seeking only the efficient conduct of 
the government of the State and 
locality from whichever party seems 

most qualified to give it. The inspired 
article which is being reprinted in var- 
ious newspapers as part of a propa- 
ganda against the achievement of good 
government in Kentucky by the selec- 
tion of a man best qualified to render 
it is not only false as the reflection of 
a "plot," hope or desire, but inevita- 
bly false as a prophecy. 


(The Times Editorial. July 14, 1922.) 

Presented as a concrete example of 
loss of service through maladjustment 
of departments, a paragraph about the 
State Law Library at Frankfort in 
The Courier-Journal's recent series of 
articles on the State government is 
worthy of more than casual passing 
mention. The statement was made 
that the Law Library, without a 
trained librarian in it, possesses thou- 
sands of volumes of valuable Ken- 
tucky statistics and lore, neither class- 
ified nor catalogued. The while, the 
same paragraph relates, across the 
building from this cache of informa- 
tion, is the Kentucky Library Commis- 
sion and its trained librarians, who 
could classifly and catalogue these 
books for reference and put many of 
them in circulation through its trav- 
eling sets. 

This situation, no fault of the State 

Librarian, no doubt, is typical. It 
certainly has its parallel in the Geo- 
logical Survey. These books, of ines- 
timable value, but unavailable for ref- 
erence, are exactly like Kentucky's 
wealth of unmined minerals. The 
books will never be of use until a 
trained and skilled librarian classifies 
and catalogues them; and the mineral 
wealth of Kentucky will never be sys- 
tematically, economically and exten- 
sively developed until a geologist 
maps their location, defines their 
bounds and chemically analyzes their 
constituent elements. 

There is this more to be added about 
the books: there are, perhaps, gaps in 
the collection, that should be filled be- 
fore it is too late. Only a trained libra- 
rian, going ahead of the historians as 
the geologist must precede the engi- 
neer in developing mineral resources, 
can discover the lack of continuity in 
the records and supply what is 

For a State in which pride of nativity 
is so marked, Kentucky is shamefully 
neglectful of its sources of historical 
data; and in these days of rampant In- 
ternationalism, whatever conduces to 
love of home and State and country 
should be not only treasured but made 
accessible to the public. The next 
General Assembly has a duty to per- 
form in furnishing the Kentucky Li- 
brary Commission an opportunity to 
extend Its service.